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Columt)ia Ulniversitig 

Contributions to Bbiication 

^Teacbers CcHeoe Sedes 

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Columbia IHniversit^ 
Contributions to Ebucation 

(Teacbere College Series 

mo. 4 


Copyright, 1905 






i> ^^ 



NO. 4 


Educational Theories 


Herbart and Froebel 




Ueacbers College, Columbia Tllntversity 

October, 1905 Price 75 cents 


Introductory Note 7 

I. — The Period and the Point of View 8 

II. — Rousseau and the Problem of Civilization in 

the Eighteenth Century 12 

III. — The Transition Period 19 

IV. — Romanticism 32 

V. — From Kant to Hegel: The Idealistic Interpre- 
tation OF Nature and History .... 40 

VI. — From Rousseau to Froebel: The Evolution of 

Educational Ideas 48 

VII. — Realism in Philosophy and Education: 

Herbart 66 

VIII. — ^The Educational Theories of Froebel ... 80 

IX. — Retrospect and Conclusion 117 



The rough notes and suggestions furnished in this Syllabus 
are an attempt (a) to outline the evolution of educational ideas 
from Rousseau to Froebel as an outcome of the more general 
movement in social theory, (b) to relate the educational theories 
of Herbart and Froebel to the wider intellectual movements of 
Romanticism, Realism, and Idealism. It is assumed that no 
theory, ethical, philosophical, educational, can be completely 
understood when isolated from the human conditions which 
produced it. The evolution of educational opinion is part of the 
entire intellectual and social movement of a period. The outline 
aims to trace in a genetic way the emergence of certain ideas 
within a particular period and the transformation of educational 
problems by these ideas. It does not, however, underrate the 
value of the study of the personalities of the men through whom 
these ideas found their first adequate expression. A syllabus is 
at best a provisional sketch, — ^part seen, imagined part. Brevity 
without injury to clearness is in a very real sense possible only 
after the most detailed exposition. The syllabus of a period so 
complex as the one here outlined can be nothing more than a 
plan of action, serving its purpose if it in some small way assist 
students in the organization of such means of communication as 
may render easier the transition from one branch of knowledge to 
another. In the course the attempt is made gradually to formu- 
late a methodology of the educational problem, and thus have it 
serve as an approach to a study of the Philosophy of Education. 


8 Educational Theories 

The syllabus as a whole aims to indicate the nature of philosophic 
method in the study of the evolution of educational ideas rather 
than to increase the store of information concerning them. In 
the present outline the notes and references may prove suggestive 
in some directions: they are not intended to be exhaustive in 
any direction whatever. 



1. It is a matter of common knowledge that there cannot be 
any adequate appreciation of the educational theories of the 
present without some imderstanding of the fotmdations of such 
theories in the needs and aspirations, the intellectual and social 
tendencies of the past. To reach any definite conclusions in 
regard to fundamental tendencies in the present, a study is 
necessary of the previous conditions through which they passed 
in order to reach the present. For in any study involving per- 
sonal and social progress there may be recognized certain well- 
defined conceptions formerly maintained, which, compared with 
the present, will indicate with a fair degree of security the line of 
future advance. Education is a dynamic, growing process, a part 
of a changing social situation : its theory is in turn a function of 
the wider intellectual and spiritual life of the particular period. 

2. Educational theory, even while having its especial and 
clearly limited object, is closely involved in the life of each 
civilization, and, indeed, in the life of every people. In each 
age it acts upon the spirit of the people, and is in turn reacted 
upon by that spirit. In its development it is continuous with 
the development of other intellectual and social movements, of 
literature, art and science, of economics, politics and religion. 
In looking back over the history of the intellectual and social life 
of mankind it would appear to be true that transitional eras in 
scientific, ethical, political or religious thought were also eras of 
corresponding changes in educational theory and practice, e. g., 
as the present outline will attempt to show, the development of 
educational ideas from Rousseau to Froebel is continuous with 
the simultaneous transformation and development of philosoph- 
ical and social theories, the intellectual, moral and aesthetic 
products, of the period from Rousseau to Hegel. 

Herbart and Froebel 9 

3. It is still in many quarters an open question whether 
great educators should be thought of as heroes to be worshipped, 
as Carlyle would demand, or as representative men who are to be 
followed because they express what all are thinking, as Emerson 
would have us believe. Though, in many cases, not philosophers 
in any technical sense, the great educators inevitably became 
vehicles of philosophical ideas and of social tendencies. Indeed, 
their essential originality in most instances consists in the degree 
to which they were able to synthesize their educational beliefs 
with the dominant intellectual movements of their time. While, 
therefore, in the present outline, the emphasis is concerned with 
the evolution of ideas rather than the biography of writers, it 
would not underrate the necessity of maintaining a balance or 
proportion between persons and ideas. It is easy to over- 
emphasize either, and thus tend to give a very misleading view 
of a period such as the one under consideration. For in the 
thought and teachings of the great educational leaders, embody- 
ing, as we have seen, the philosophical and social tendencies of 
their period, is found a tmique confirmation of the personal as 
well as the organic nature of human life : from the interdepend- 
ence, moreover, of many and varied tendencies in literature, phi- 
losophy, political theory, ethics, and theology, one is inevitably 
led to a deeper view of human thought and activity, and of the 
spiritual foundations of both. 

4. The period 'From Rousseau to Froebel' lies between 
what may rightly be regarded as two great events in the evolu- 
tion of educational ideas, (a) the indictment of civilization and 
culture by Rousseau, and (6) the unique reconstruction of edu- 
cational theory attempted by Froebel. The development of 
educational ideas in this period may be regarded either (a) as 
the expression of intellectual and spiritual tendencies and of 
recognized practical needs, or (b) from the point of view of the 
actual definitive clearness with which the problems themselves 
were stated, and solutions offered by educational leaders. In 
the present outline the attempt is made to indicate the possibili- 
ties of the study of the period from the twofold point of view. 

5. The purposes of the present outline may now be given a 
somewhat more formal statement as follows: 

(a) by the use of the comparative and historical method, 

lo Educational Theories 

within a limited area, to indicate what were the more important 
problems with which the writers on education dealt, and what 
were the conditions, intellectual and social, which determined 
the various statements of the problems and the attempts at 
their solution. Since educational theory is an organic part of 
the wider history of culture, a syllabus can, at best, indicate in 
very schematic form the directions and interrelations of the in- 
tellectual and spiritual movements of a period to which its edu- 
cational ideas were organic. Its peculiar danger lies in depriving 
the period of its natural continuity of movement and life. 

(6) to outline the relation of the work of Herbart and of 
Froebel to its historical setting, and the dependence of their 
theories upon the philosophical movements of the period. This 
will necessitate some indication of the philosophical content of 
Idealism, Romanticism, and Realism. 

(c) to indicate the contributions of Herbart and Froebel to a 
philosophy of education. 

6. Before passing on to the outline of the period it may be 
well for purposes of simplification to indicate in somewhat dog- 
matic form what are to be regarded as the more important 
phases of the social problem in the period as a whole : 

(a) The period is marked, first of all, by attempts at the 
reconciliation or adjustment of the two elemental human ten- 
dencies, that of individual freedom and collective organization. 
The worth of the individual and his right to self-realization came 
to fuller and fuller recognition. This movement at first took 
the form, for the most part, of reaction against all existing institu- 
tions ; gradually, however, the lesson was learned that the indi- 
vidual life in itself is naught; only as a member of the great 
institutions of the race can the individual become truly human, 
spiritual and free. 

(b) The period is marked, in the second place, by a gradual 
change from mechanical and static to organic and developmental 
modes of viewing nature and human society. In the place of 
the atomistic view of things, in politics, philosophy, theology, 
and education, the organic view of society, of experience, of the 
entire cosmic process, came to prevail. The mental gaze was 
transferred from the categories of 'being' to those of 'becom- 

Herbart and Froebel ii 

(c) In the period there may be noted a gradual transforma- 
tion of the deistic to the theistic view of God's relation to the 
world. The mechanical Deism gave way to the more imma- 
nental and spiritual view of Theism, a view, at times, closely 
approximating to Pantheism. 

(d) Closely connected with the preceding is the new concep- 
tion of the relation and significance of nature to the human 
spirit. In place of the view which held to the absolute dualism 
of nature and spirit came the view of nature as the manifestation 
of the Absolute and as a medium through which the human 
spirit attains to self-knowledge and self-realization. 

(e) As a final aspect of the social problem during this period 
may be noted the gradual change from an individualistic ethics 
to an ethics based upon the demands of the social whole. Closely 
connected with this, and contributing to it were those ideas and 
ideals of equality, humanitarianism, of an aristocracy of intel- 
ligence rather than birth, and of the new developments in psy- 
chological, historical, and physical science, in literature and art, 
in education and philanthropy. Corresponding to the new 
religious and ethical ideals there emerged in this transitional 
period new attitudes to nature, to humanity, to the responsibil- 
ities as well as the opportunities of life. 


The more important sources of material for the study of the period 
will be indicated in connection with the respective chapters. It is need- 
less to say that the important sources are the works of the writers them- 
selves. The study of the period is fimdamentally a study of the influence 
and continuous action of works on works. The various lists make no pre- 
tension to completeness. They aim to be suggestive merely, not in any 
sense exhaustive. There are certain books which it is necessary for the 
student to know if he is to be saved from making discoveries which later 
turn out to be not discoveries at all. A few of the more important books, 
which, in addition to the writings of Rousseau, Kant, Goethe, Fichte, 
Hegel, Pestalozzi, Herbart, and Froebel, naturally form the nucleus of 
source-material for the study of the period (for the reason that they in- 
evitably become incorporated sooner or later with our idea of the period) 
are the following: 

Boyesen, Essays on German Literature; Caird, The Critical 
Philosophy of Kant; Dewey, The Child and the Curriculum; Erd- 
mann, History of Philosophy, Vol, II; Falckenburg, History of 
Modern Philosophy; Francke, German Literature as Determined by 
Social Forces; Harris, Psychologic Foundations of Education (Part 

12 Educational Theories 

III); Hoffding, History of Modern Philosophy; Merz, History of 
European Thought in the Nineteenth Century; Robertson, A History 
of German Literature; Rosenkranz, The Philosophy of Education; 
Royce, The Spirit of Modern Philosophy; Scherer, A History of 
German Literature; Taylor, Studies in German Literature; Ueber- 
weg, History of Philosophy, Vol. II; Willmann, Didaktik; Windel- 
band. History of Philosophy; Wundt, Ethical Systems. 


I. The dominant tendencies of the intellectual life of the 
eighteenth century may be indicated as follows: 

(a) A movement towards the emancipation of human 
thought and activity, and the liberation of man from the influ- 
ence of past dogmas and traditions. The psychology of the 
'Enlightenment' contained two fundamental propositions, bor- 
rowed from Leibnitz (while omitting the deeper implications of 
his doctrine) : (i) ideas are the constituents of the mental life, 
and (2) the fundamental difference in mental life is the difference 
between dark and clear ideas. The 'Enlightenment' of the 
understanding became the watchword, and to the test of the 
* understanding ' every belief, institution, creed, must submit 
or be rejected. 

Q)) The ideal of Individualism which manifested itself in the 
prevailing theories of knowledge, of morality, and of human 
society. In addition to the notion borrowed from. Leibnitz that 
ideas are the constituent elements of the mental life, a theory of 
the origin of these ideas had been derived from English Em- 
piricism. A psychology grounded on experience and regarded 
as the fundamental science became the basis of attack in 
political, aesthetic, moral, and religious problems, (i) Locke 
declared, "All knowledge is from experience." Interpreting 
experience in terms of sensation, and materialistically, the Ency- 
clopaedists claimed that we have no knowledge of anything in- 
capable of being experienced by the senses. (2) Pleasure or 
happiness was regarded as the legitimate end of the individual's 
action and enlightened selfishness the only rule of conduct. 


Herbart and Froebel 13 

{c) The prevailing Deism, or the tendency to so-called * na- 
tural religion' of the period. In harmony with the dominant 
intellectualistic psychology noted above, it was at first argued 
that Christianity was not mysterious but reasonable, and that 
the value of religion could not lie in any unintelligible element. 
Difficulties still remaining, revealed religion came to be ques- 
tioned and attacked as either superfluous or untrue or both. 
The outcome among many of the leaders of thought and opinion 
was either mere toleration of or thoroughgoing opposition to 
religious beliefs, both natural and revealed. 

{d) The belief in a state of nature as man's primitive condition, 
by some writers regarded as a state of human equality, goodness, 
and happiness. Coupled with this is the ideal of the so-called 
return to nature. (Concerning the notion of a 'state of nature,' 
see Davidson's Rousseau, pp. 3-23.) 

{e) The conception of the state or society as the outcome 
of a social contract consciously and voluntarily entered into by 
individuals for their own good. 

From the preceding analysis it will be seen that the dominant 
characteristic of the eighteenth century was its individualism 
and its opposition to the accepted dogmas as well as the actual 
conditions in church and state : and the work of its representative 
thinkers and writers was directed chiefly towards the establish- 
ment of a new type of philosophy (theoretical and practical), 
based on the principles of individualism and naturalism. This 
tendency, indeed, had been gradually but steadily growing and 
formulating itself through the preceding three centuries. It 
came to clear consciousness in Rousseau as the problem of civili- 
zation. Since the Renaissance a new type of civilization and 
culture had been developing, and at length a voice was raised, as- 
serting the falsity of the whole thing. Rousseau in the modem, 
as the Sophist in ancient times, was the first clearly to raise the 
question of the worth of civilization to the life of the individual. 
In all his writings this fundamental question reappears in one 
form or another and again and again: What is the value and 
significance of human history and human civilization for the 
morality and happiness of the individual ? Is it true, indeed, 
that the growth of human knowledge and the increasing com- 
plexity of human relationships, inseparably connected with 

14 Educational Theories 

so-called civilization, has been for the good of man as man, and 
made for his true happiness? Does not civilization hinder 
rather than enhance the happiness as well as the morality of 
man? In whatever form this question had hitherto expressed 
itself, back of it all we find the individual coming to a conscious- 
ness of himself, of his rights and powers, as independent of what 
he conceived to be the arbitrary environment which surrounded 
him. This reaction against authority, now manifest in the 
Renaissance, now in the Reformation, now in the development 
of Rationalism, and ultimately in the Revolution, brought the 
individual into sharp relief. It shows the individual continu- 
ally becoming more conscious and more determined. The very 
meaning and significance of society came to be questioned. 
Is not society a merely artificial product ? Does it not merely 
impede the individual, hinder his development, and thwart his 
freedom? Is not the individual man, after all, the measure of 
all things, the criterion of what things are true, and what things 
are good? 

2. When we think of the spirit of the eighteenth century it 
is the name of Voltaire which almost inevitably comes to mind. 
When we consider the century by itself it is Voltaire who perhaps 
best of all embodies and represents the entire period. On the 
other hand, when we think of the eighteenth as preceding and 
conditioning in large measure the spiritual history of the nine- 
teenth, it is rather to Rousseau and his work that we must turn. 

While it is safe to consider Rousseau (17 12-17 78) as an epoch- 
maker in the history of thought, nevertheless to regard his work 
and that of his contemporaries as an absolute break with the 
past is to take an inadequate view of the entire movement which 
it is supposed to constitute. In the evolution of ideas it is 
difficult to determine just when a particular idea or tendency 
begins to operate. Failure to recognize the danger of selecting 
arbitrary starting-points for intellectual and spiritual move- 
ments is to lose sight of the essential continuity of human 
thought and experience. As a social phenomenon Rousseauism 
may be said to have been conditioned in its origin and in its 
course by the character of the period which had preceded it. It 
arose, it is true, in what seems a distinctly conscious break with 
the past. It was intended, indeed, that the past should be sud- 

Herbart and Froehel 15 

denly superseded, that the individual should be freed in thought 
and action. This very intention, however, had its own historic 
conditions, its own period of preparation in the past. The 
movements, therefore, connected with the name of Rousseau, 
were not altogether suddenly initiated, nor are they yet by any 
means finished processes. The principles which made them pos- 
sible were at work in the preceding period, and even now those 
same principles are being carried to their fuller development. 

In estimating the character and influence of Rousseau it is 
necessary to keep in mind two things: (a) his own nature, (h) 
his relation to the thought of his times. He was at once original 
and impressionable — an exponent perhaps more than the origin- 
ator of ideas. However inconsistent at times his writings may 
appear, it is not a difficult matter to realize how completely they 
reveal the nattire of the man as well as the character of the times 
in which he lived. 

3. Rousseau's Writings. — As has been noted above, the one 
question fundamental to the thought of Rousseau is civilization. 
Partly owing to his own character and experience, and partly to 
the influences at work in the life about him, Rousseau became 
the interpreter or exponent of the tendencies and aspirations, 
and of the general temper of imrest prevalent in his time, and his 
writings critiques of existing institutions, (i) Discourse on the 
Sciences and Arts, 1750. In 1749 the Academy of Dijon pro- 
posed as a theme for a prize-essay the topic, " Has the restora- 
tion of the sciences contributed to purify or corrupt manners?" 
Rousseau's essay won the prize. Henceforth his attitude 
towards civilization as making for morality and happiness was 
a negative one. (2) The Origin of Inequality, 1753. (3) The 
New Heloise, 1761. An attack on the feudal family: his chief 
work as an imaginative writer. "The novelty of the book lay," 
writes Brandes, "in the first instance, in the fact that it gave 
the death-blow to gallantry, and, consequently, to the theory of 
the French classical period on the subject of the emotions. 
This theory was that all noble, fine emotions, and chief among 
them love, were the products of civilization." Brandes goes 
on to note more fully the four characteristic features: (i) Love 
as a natural, not artificial or conventional mannerism, (ii) In- 
equality in station of the hero and heroine, (iii) The moral 

1 6 Educational Theories 

conviction of the sanctity of marriage, (iv) Nature in its literal 
significance. "For the first time, out of England, we have the 
genuine feeling for nature in fiction, superseding love-making in 
drawing-rooms and gardens." (Main Currents of Literature in 
the Nineteenth Century, Vol. I. For the influence of Rousseau 
on Goethe, see p. 20 ff, of the same volume.) (4) The Social 
Contract, 1762. Devoted to the political problem — ^the sover- 
eignty of the people, the equality of men. "Man is bom free 
but is everywhere in chains." The 'Social Contract' was but 
a part of a much larger scheme, as projected, of entire social 
equality: (5) Emile, 1763. Devoted to the educational and 
religious problem. "While others were content with the mere 
enunciation of maxims and precepts, he breathed into them the 
spirit of life, and enforced them with a vividness of faith that 
clothed education with the augustness and tinction of religion" 
(Morley). (6) Confessions, 1782. Published four years after 
his death. 

4. The Social and Ethical Theories of Rousseau. — (i) The 
theory of the State of Nature. Since, according to Rousseau, 
all that is natural, all that is good, all that is fundamentally 
human, has disappeared with advancing civilization and culture, 
the only relief for man from such universal degeneracy is to be 
hoped for from a return to nature on the part of the individual 
and society alike. And this return is to be achieved through a 
new type of education and the formation of a state conformed to 
nature. (2) The theory of the Social Contract. (3) The con- 
ception of the 'general will.' (4) Reaction against the Phi- 
losophy of the ' Enlightenment ' — in psychology, in religion, in 
aesthetics. (5) Education as the fundamental form of social re- 
construction. (See Chap. VI.) (5) In an appreciation and criti- 
cism of the doctrines of Rousseau the following points might be 

(a) , Rousseau did well in forcing upon the reluctant mind of 
his generation the problem of civilization, its validity and its 
shortcomings. But the genius and temperament of Rousseau 
is destructive, rather than creative or reconstructive. While 
discerning what was transient in the civilization of his day, he 
was unable to indicate within it that which was of permanent 
significance for humanity. 

Herbart and Froebel 17 

(b) While he recalled his generation from a blind worship of 
the past, yet Rousseau's appreciation of the meaning and signifi- 
cance of history was wholly inadequate. As was to be shown 
by later writers, the importance of the past lies in its lesson for 
the present and future. The survival of beliefs, institutions, 
customs, is an evidence of their significance to the human 
spirit, and this is to be estimated, — ^not abruptly denied. Rous- 
seau, however, had little, if any, appreciation of the continuity 
of history. 

(c) Rousseau's notion of a 'state of nature' in which are 
realized both liberty and equality (as he uses the conceptions) 
seems impossible for man as at present constituted. If you 
have the one you cannot have the other. In Rousseau's concep- 
tion of liberty the errors of individualism are set in clear relief. 
In failing to recognize that human life is essentially social and 
moral, he confounds mere natural spontaneity with that rational 
or spiritual freedom which is gained, as Kant maintains, through 
the limitation and control of mere natural spontaneity or desire 
in the presence of law. (See also Chaps. Ill and VI.) 

(d) Though not a psychologist in the strict sense of the term, 
nevertheless Rousseau maintained a psychological attitude 
towards life, with the result that his works contain the germs of 
several divergent lines of thought and experience in the succeed- 
ing generation. While he was influenced by both Rationalism 
and Empiricism, yet for him the element of feeling is the central, 
the fundamental, element in the human mind. In Rousseau, 
Romanticism in large measure took its rise. "The man who has 
lived most is not he who has numbered the most years, but he 
who has the keenest sense of life." It was this element of feeling 
or passion which made Rousseau's influence a power. He in- 
fused into the ideas he accepted from his time this element of 
passion, and at once they became vital, influential in the minds 
and hearts of his readers. By vindicating wrch impassioned 
eloquence the right of the whole personality of the individual 
to participate in the solution of its deepest problems, in opposi- 
tion to the one-sided 'understanding' of the 'Enlightenment,* 
Rousseau became a pre-Kantian defender of the faith of practi- 
cal reason. His words found their response in Herder, Goe- 
the, Schiller, Kant, Fichte, and Pestalozzi. His emotions were 

1 8 Educational Theories 

moreover, extremely complex, — ^now self -centered and selfish, 
now, to all appearances, altogether altruistic. He felt keenly the 
burden of human life in the France of his day, yet he too often 
regarded it as merely his own. In this passionate exercise of 
feeling there was something which constantly tended to carry 
him beyond a purely individualistic view of man, and to a more 
adequate conception of his relation to nature, to other men and 
to God than had hitherto prevailed. Although, for example, 
his notion of religion is still, in the main, deistic, yet connected 
with it is an emotional element which is an anticipation of a 
newer conception which was soon to follow. "I believe in 
God . . . because a thousand motives of preference at- 
tract me to the side that is most consoling, and join the weight 
of hope to the equilibrium of reason." Further his sympathy 
towards man has within it the promise of better things to come. 
" It is the common people," he writes, "who compose the human 
race: what is not the people is so trivial that it is not worth tak- 
ing into account. Before one who reflects, all civil distinctions 
disappear; he sees the same passions, the same feelings in the 
clown as in the man of note and reputation; he only distin- 
guishes their language, and a varnish more or less elaborately 
laid on." Thus Rousseau's somewhat emotional 'return to na- 
ture' had important bearings upon (i) the reaction against mere 
rationalism in matters of belief, (2) the movement towards de- 
mocracy with its deeper and wider Humanism and its apprecia- 
tion of the worth and dignity of man as man, (3) the appreciation 
of the significance of nature for the human spirit, and of its 
power to respond and minister to human needs. Rousseau's 
work, though for the most part destructive, contained within 
it elements which, later on, inevitably made for social recon- 


Bonar, Philosophy and Political Economy; Bosanquet, Philo- 
sophical Theory of the State; Briinetiere, History of French Litera- 
ture; Davidson, Rousseau and Education according to Nature; 
Dieterich, Kant und Rousseau; Fester, Rousseau und Geschichtsphi- 
losophie; Hudson, Rousseau; Levy-Bruhl, History of Modern Phi- 
losophy in France; Macdonald, Studies in the France of Voltaire 
and Rousseau; Morley, Rousseau; Ritchie, Natural Rights; Win- 
delband, History of Philosophy; Wiindt, Ethical Systems. 

Herbart and Froebel 19 

Further problems for study: 

1. Sources of the doctrine of Rousseau. 

2. Rousseau's psychology. 

3. The concept of 'equality' in the writings of Rousseau. 

4. Rousseau's theory of society. 

5. The conception of civilization in Rousseau. 

6. The conception of the 'general will' in Rousseau. 

7. Rousseau's doctrine of nature and culture. 

8. Rousseau's relation to Romanticism. 

o. Influence of Rousseau on Kant, Goethe, and Pestalozzi. 



1. The eighteenth century, though a period in which there 
existed a certain tendency to remain self-satisfied with the exist- 
ing condition of things, was nevertheless in Germany, France, and 
England fraught with immense possibilities in politics, in indus- 
try, in science, in literature, in philosophy, and religion. The 
age led out beyond itself in many directions. In Germany, 
during the last quarter of the century especially, it became an 
era of transition in which new aspirations, new ideas of life and 
conduct became formative in the minds and hearts of men. In 
philosophy, literature and theology is found during this period 
the most fruitful contribution of Germany, where the period of 
transition took the form of intellectual rather than political or 
industrial revolution. 

2. Without any attempt at completeness the following 
characteristics may be noted as the more important for the 
present purpose: (i) Its struggle for truth and the strengthening 
of the critical insight. (2) Its opposition of the original force 
and simplicity of nature to the artificial forms of culture and 
society. (3) The gradual prevalence of organic over mechanical 
modes of thinking, leading to new conceptions of God's rela- 
tion to the world, of the interrelations of men and the relation 
and significance of nature to the spiritual life. (4) A tendency 
towards individualism and an emphasis of the subjective, per- 
sonal aspect of truth, and an unceasing search for fresh spiritual 
life and light in art and literature, in philosophy and religion. 
(5) The struggle for freedom of conscience, the deepening of the 

20 Educational Theories 

sense of the value of the individual, his right to self-realization, an 
ideal of human advancement through individual self -culture. 
Coupled with this is a ne-w Humanism in literature, art, and moral 

3. (a) Lessing (1729-1781) as Path-finder, "a man who, 
while combining in himself the enlightenment, the idealism, the 
universality of the best of his age, added to this an intellectual 
fearlessness and a constructive energy which have made him the 
champion destroyer of despotism, and the master builder of 
lawful freedom" (Francke). The forerunner of classical German 
literature — Principal works — (i) Minna von Barnhelm, Emilia 
Galotti, Nathan the Wise, and The Education of the Human 
Race; (2) Hamburg Dramaturgy, and Laocoon. Their political, 
aesthetic, ethical, and religious significance — Embodiments of 
those movements which were to make for human freedom, for 
social reconstruction and consolidation. 

(b) In Lessing may be noted (i) the influence of the transi- 
tional period in which he lived. Neither the orthodoxy, the 
pietism, nor the rationalism of his day completely satisfied him. 
No radical innovator, Lessing aimed at a gradual transformation 
of the existing state of things. Through his attempts at literary 
and artistic reform, his search for the true lines of social progress, 
his demand for religious freedom, he became in his century a 
unique representative of the movement, not merely of emancipa- 
tion but of reconstruction. (2) A passionate love of truth, a 
demand for freedom of thought and conscience and the concep- 
tion of eternal striving as the true duty of man. "Not the 
truth of which any one is, or supposes himself to be, possessed, 
but the upright endeavor he has made to arrive at truth, makes 
the worth of a man. For not by the possession, but by the in- 
vestigation, of truth are his powers expanded, wherein alone his 
ever-growing perfection consists. Possession makes us easy, in- 
dolent, proud. — If God held all truth shut in His right hand, and 
in His left hand nothing but the ever-restless instinct for truth, 
though with the condition of forever and ever erring, and should 
say to me,' Choose! ' — I should bow humbly to His left hand, and 
say, * Father, give! pure truth is for Thee alone.' " (Compare the 
ideas of Goethe, Kant, and Fichte.) (3) Closely connected with 
the idea of eternal striving is his possession of the historical sense, 

Herbart and Froebel 21 

his anticipation of the idea of organic growth and its resultant 
optimism. (4) A combination of cosmopolitan toleration and 
nationalism, an ideal of freedom whose foundations are laid in 
discipline, an individualism resting on habits of self-control and 
self -surrender. (5) The conception of feeling as the fundamental 
element of the psychical life. (6) The accordance of his views 
of God, the world and the human soul with those of Leibnitz. 
The idea of inner connection between nature and history. For 
Lessing, influenced by Spinoza, there exists an immanent rather 
than transcendent relation between God and the world, and 
reality as a whole is in a ceaseless process of becoming and de- 
velopment. God does not exist apart from the world: He is to 
be conceived, rather, as the soul of the world. (7) Influence of 
Lessing upon Herder and Goethe. 

(c) In The Education of the Human Race (1780), perhaps the 
most suggestive of his writings, which is closely connected in 
many ways with Nathan the Wise, which preceded it, Lessing 
formulates his general ethical and philosophical position in the 
form of an ideal of religion, — of a new gospel. In this brief 
treatise is found an application of the Leibnitzian idea of de- 
velopment to the history of positive religions. The history of 
the various religions of the world is an education of the human 
race through divine revelation. In them we are not to find mere 
blind striving and error, but rather the only road by which the 
human mind in each instance has been able to develop, and along 
which it will develop still farther. What education is to the 
individual man, revelation is to the whole human race. By 
means of revelation the human race is raised from lower to 
higher stages. Every individual must traverse the same course 
as that by which the race attains its perfection ; and just as the 
education of the individual puts nothing foreign or extraneous 
into him, but merely puts him in possession more quickly of that 
which he could have reached for himself, so is human reason il- 
luminated by revelation concerning things to which it could 
have attained by its own unaided efforts, only that without the 
divine cooperation the process would have been infinitely more 
arduous and prolonged. 

4. In Herder's interpretation of nature and history there may 
be noted: (a) Certain general characteristics of the mind and 

2 2 Educational Theories 

work of Herder (i 744-1803) which served to give him an influen- 
tial place in the movement of ideas in this era of transition: (i) 
Endowed with wonderful spiritual vitality, deep feeling, pro- 
fotmd interpretative power, Herder was able to vitalize the in- 
tellectual life of his time as was perhaps no other writer of the 
period. Compared with that of Kant, his mind was of the syn- 
thetic, the formative, rather than of the analytic or critical type. 
" Life, Love, Light," the words written on his tomb and on the 
statue at Weimar, embody the spirit and the spiritual aspirations 
of Herder. (2) In his refinement of the philosophy of feeling, of 
its basal character in the personal life, against the demand of 
mere reason or understanding. Herder may be regarded as a 
forerunner of Romanticism in Germany, as was Rousseau in 
France. He resembled the Romanticists also in his inability to 
keep his poetic, his philosophic and his religious ideas apart. 
(3) Through his study of primitive poetry and, notably, by his 
essay on Ossian, Herder taught the value of the poetry of the 
people as contrasted with that of the cultured. (4) As one who 
had in early life received much inspiration from Rousseau, 
Herder was a strong defender of the claims of nature, freedom, 
and the right of the individual to self-realization. From the 
point of view of ethics, he maintains against Kant, his former 
teacher, that the end of life must lie in the particiilar and indi- 
vidual rather than merely in the race. To each individual is 
allotted such development and perfection as is possible at the 
given stage. Yet Herder recognizes that this development is 
rendered possible only through (i) reciprocal action between 
individuals, and (ii) transmission of the acquired means of culture 
from generation to generation. It is this interrelation between 
individuals and generations which produces humanity and ren- 
ders a philosophy of history possible. In the work of Herder 
as a whole there are the seemingly contradictory tendencies, — to 
hold fast equally to individualism and to collectivism, and, in- 
deed, to pantheism. 

(b) Herder's Ideas for a Philosophy of History of Mankind was 
published between 17 84-1 791. This work, with Kant's Critique 
of Pure Reason, gives utterance to the most important intellec- 
tual drift of the la^ century. In this book, says Pfleiderer, meet, 
as in a focus, the combined results of Herder's various philo- 

Herbart and Froebel 23 

sophical labors, labors which opened up new and magnificent 
points of view especially in those branches of study which were 
depreciated by Kant, viz., the emotional side of the life of the 
human soul and the development of mankind under the com- 
bined action of the natural and spiritual forces in history. 

In an analysis of Herder's Ideas the following points should 
be noted: (i) His aim is to explain human evolution as ulti- 
mately an outcome of man's physical environment. Man is to 
be viewed as a part of nature — ^nature's last child, her first freed- 
man — and his various forms of development as purely natural 
processes. In man is the meeting-point of the physical and 
ethical series. Kant, on the other hand, whom Herder opposed, 
viewed human evolution as the gradual manifestation of a 
growing facility of rational free-will, and opposed it to the 
operations of physical nature. (2) He asserts the interconnec- 
tion according to law of all things in nature and history. This 
presupposes a groimd of tmity in existence. " God is everything 
in His works." (3) In his conception of development Herder is 
dominated by Spinoza, Rousseau and Leibnitz. To Spinoza he 
owed much of his monistic conception of things, 'the unity of 
God and the world, of nature and spirit. With Rousseau, he 
lays stress on the earlier stages of human development, since 
because of their simpler and more spontaneous character (cf. 
Schiller) they appear to him the more real and valuable. His 
doctrine of organic forces is a transformation of Leibnitz's theory 
of monads. These forces, after the fashion of the active force 
in our thought, operate in different degrees and at various 
stages through all nature, which forms one vast organism. 
Even in unconscious nature, ideal forces unceasingly operate 
and organize in accordance with definite types. The lower 
forms of life prefigure man in unequal degrees of imperfection. 
(4) Since the development of man is to be explained in con- 
nection with his environment, his mental faculties are to be 
viewed in relation to his organization and as developed under 
the pressure of the necessities of life. The great law of nature 
is that everywhere on earth everything be realized that can 
be realized there: its end, — humanity and the development 
of human capacities. Preceding abstract thought there was 
the religious consciousness of the invisible forces in nature. 

24 Educational Theories 

Reason is not innate: it is a product. Our thoughts have been 
acquired through tradition, speech, environmental influences. 
Man comes into the world to learn reason. This is nothing, 
Herder claims, other than something acquired, a proportion 
and direction of ideas and faculties which we must learn, and to 
which man, according to his organization and way of life, must 
be educated. The individual becomes man only through a 
process of education, and education proceeds through the par- 
ticipation of the individual in the life of the race. 

5. (a) Kant (1724-1804) once declared that, after all, the 
greatest, and perhaps sole, use of philosophy is merely negative, 
and, instead of discovering truth, has only the more modest 
merit of preventing error. His own work resolves itself into 
a critical account of the nature, possibility and limits of hu- 
man experience. Starting from the accepted order of nature 
and the moral order acknowledged in the conviction of duty, 
Kant seeks to answer the question, What do these imply ? His 
account is embodied in the three Critiques : (i) the Critique of 
Pure Reason (1781), presenting an epistemological view of ex- 
perience, (2) the Critique of the Practical Reason (1788), in 
which Kant develops an ethical interpretation of experience 
on the basis of results reached in the epistemological, (3) the 
Critique of Judgment (1790), in which the attempt is made to 
develop an aesthetic and teleological interpretation of the world. 

(6) In attempting to give a reasonably adequate statement 
of important factors in the work of Kant it would be necessary 
to give an analysis of the following: (i) his relation to Em- 
piricism (Hume), to Rationalism (Leibnitz), to Dualism (Des- 
cartes), and to Naturalism (Rousseau) ; (2) the meaning of the 
critical me,th.o&\ (3) the significance of the problem of the pos- 
sibility of experience; (4) the distinction between the matter and 
form of knowledge; (5) the nature of the three fundamental 
forms, space, time, causation, as functions of human intelli- 
gence; (6) the doctrine of the categories; (7) the doctrine of 
freedom; (8) the categorical imperative; (9) the Kantian doc- 
trine of personality; (10) the interpretation of the adaptation 
of nature to intelligence. In this connection it is only possible 
to indicate very briefly the outcome of the Kantian theory of 

Herbart and Froebel 25 

(c) Kant's Epistemology. Kant's question is, in brief, 
What is experience, what does it involve, and how do we get 
knowledge by means of it? The point of view of the common 
consciousness and of Empiricism is that whatever is known by 
experience exists full-formed and complete before it is ex- 
-pBrienced, and that knowledge consists in the passive appre- 
hension of this pre-exist ent world of objects. On the other 
hand, Kant insists that knowledge and therefore experience 
is possible through the co-operation of two faculties, — sense 
and tmderstanding. Both are absolutely essential. Through 
sense the objects — ^the matter — of knowledge, are given; 
through understanding they are thought, formed, or under- 
stood, i. e., become real objects of knowledge. As for Plato 
and Aristotle, so for Kant the "sensible" is, properly speaking, 
no "thing" at all, but capable of becoming something through 
the determining action of thought. Thus Kant attempts a 
reconciliation between Empiricism and Rationalism, admitting 
with the Empiricist that sense must furnish the material or 
empirical element of knowledge, while with the Rationalist he 
contends that the understanding must furnish its necessary and 
universal form. Not that by sense an object is given as a de- 
termined object, for all determination comes from the under- 
standing. All that is meant is that the material, the chaos 
of sensations, is furnished by sense, to be determined through 
the categories of the understanding. Thus a knowledge of de- 
termined objects is gained through the joint operation of sense 
and understanding. 

For Kant, therefore, the problem of philosophy resolves 
itself, first of all, into a theory of knowledge. The theory of 
knowledge developed in the Critique of Pure Reason is the ne- 
cessary basis and real presupposition of the views regarding 
ethics and the philosophy of religion which are developed in 
the Critique of Practical Reason and the Critique of Judgment. 
For Kant, as was implied in the preceding paragraph, the 
peculiar note of experience is the connectedness of perceptions, 
or the reference of individual presentations of sense to the unity 
of the object or thing known. The essential fact in knowledge 
is synthesis. Every judgment of experience contains synthesis 
This synthesis implies, according to Kant, four things: (i) a 

26 Educational Theories 

manifold of sense which is combined; (2) the forms (space and 
time) in which this manifold is received; (3) the forms (the 
categories, whose supreme condition is the unity of appercep- 
tion) under which the manifold so received is cognized; (4) 
the unity of consciousness itself (the 'static and permanent 
ego'). The 'static and permanent ego' is the presupposition 
of all connected experience. The mind is something more 
than a passive thing, a mere creature of environment. For 
Kant, accordingly (and this is how he meets Hume), the modes 
of synthesis by which the given manifold of sense is reduced to 
the unity of self -consciousness are at the same time the modes 
of objective existence. That is to say, self -consciousness is im- 
possible apart from its object, apart from the orderly, sys- 
tematic connection of phenomena which we call experience. 

Starting provisionally from the ordinary dualism of thought 
and things, by a gradual transformation of the theory Kant 
arrived at the conclusion that the only way of accounting for 
the endless order of nature is that it is one which our own in- 
telligence forges; that, instead of our passively receiving or 
apprehending objects (which the Empiricists had maintained 
as the sole condition of our ordered experience) , it is rather, says 
Kant, by our intelligence alone that known objects are consti- 
tuted. Our "experience" must forever remain unaccounted 
for and unexplained so long as we remain in the belief that 
thought Sind nature, the rational and the sensible, are abstract op- 
posites. The point of view, then, which Kant would have us 
take is this, that the science of being and the science of knowl- 
edge are organically one and inseparable. The question whether 
Kant consistently maintained himself in this position will be 
referred to in a subsequent section. 

On this basis the Kantian theory of knowledge would 
seem to imply that the relation between subject and object, 
mind and matter, is one of organic identity, and not of mechan- 
ical separation and opposition. The recognition that conscious- 
ness is a necessary element in all that is for it, and that existence 
is existence for a self, is at once the discovery that the object of 
knowledge is phenomenal, and at the same time it is the dis- 
covery of the noumenon of which it is the phenomenal: con- 
sciousness, in other words, in the very act of being conscious 

Herbart and Froebel 27 

transcends the dualism between itself and its object. Just here 
is to be found the starting-point of post-Kantian metaphysics, — 
a metaphysics based upon the generalization of the Kantian 
cognitive consciousness. For to admit with Kant that all 
existence is existence for a self is to admit a principle the com- 
plement of which became the fundamental doctrine of post- 
Kantian Idealism, namely, that all existence is the manifestation 
of a self, — ^that subject and object, spirit and nature, the self 
and the world, are not isolated, self-existent entities, but move 
and have their being in the persisting purpose of one immanent , 
absolute, spiritual life. 

(d) Kant's Ethical Theory. For analysis and criticism of 
Kant's ethical theory see Bradley, Ethical Studies (iv); Caird, 
The Critical Philosophy of Kant, Vol. II ; Dewey, The Study of 
Ethics, A Syllabus, sec. 36; Mackenzie, Manual of Ethics; 
Schurman, Kantian Ethics and the Ethics of Evolution; Sidgwick, 
Methods of Ethics, Book III. Note especially Kant's doctrine 
in relation to (i) the unconditional character of morality, (2) 
the autonomy of obligation, (3) antithesis of reason and feeling, 
of the 'noumenal' self, setting up the ideal of action and effort, 
and the 'phenomenal' self, made up of feelings and impulses 
which furnish the materials of volition — ^man as 'natural' and 
as 'intelligible' being, (4) freedom as an endowment rather 
than, as with Fichte, a spiritual achievement through develop- 
ment and work, (5) self-consciousness as the source of moral 
responsibility, (6) 'the good will,' (7) society as a 'kingdom of 
ends,' (8) the duties of self-preservation and self-development, 
(9) the law of reason as the fundamental law of nature, i. e., the 
rational and spiritual principle revealed in human nature, the 
constitutive principle of the reality of the world as a whole. 

(e) For our present purpose it will suffice to indicate in 
schematic form the more prominent results of Kant's inquiries: 
(i) The true critical method is the very opposite of that easy- 
going scepticism which regards a solution of the questionings 
of human reason as impossible. Reason must be credited with 
the power to answer the questions to which it has itself given rise. 
This critical method has permanent significance for the study of 
philosophy, art and literature, religion and human institutions. 
(2) Everything is derived from experience except the capacity 

28 Educational Theories 

for experience. Herein lies the possibility of education and of 
the direction of personal development. (3) Personal experience, 
however, is not a stream of isolated sensations, but an organic 
unity, united by self -consciousness, and formally determined by 
the nature of the thinking subject. Each individual, by his own 
mental processes, builds up his own world of inner experience. 

(4) The individual is no mere knowing machine set in mechanical 
juxtaposition over against a world independent of intelligence: 
rather as an intelligent self he finds himself in the midst of an 
intelligible world, related and adapted to intelligence, bone of 
his bone, flesh of his flesh. For Kant objective consciousness 
becomes real only when it becomes subjective: self -conscious- 
ness, likewise, becomes real only when it finds an object through 
which it can realize itself. Thus the self and its object are 
equally the results of a process. Back of the distinction between 
the self and the object there is the experience process. The 
consciousness of the object and the consciousness of the self 
issue in their difference from a common source; and the con- 
sciousness of the object is an essential element in the conscious- 
ness of the self. Herein is Kant's interpretation of the place 
of nature (the objective world) in the evolution of intelligence. 

(5) In keeping with the results reached in his epistemological 
inquiry, in the ethical interpretation of experience, Kant finds 
the law for man's right action not in anything foreign or ex- 
ternal to him but in man's innermost nature. This innermost 
essence of man is will. The fact of the existence of morality 
or duty is sufficient evidence for Kant that reason prescribes 
ends for itself. The realization of duty, moreover, would be 
impossible for a being who is not conceived of as free or capa- 
ble of self-determination. In obedience to the moral law, the 
fundamental fact in ethics and religion, man finds proof of his 
freedom and of his membership in a moral order of the world. 
Thus for Kant .personality is central, — personality not in isola- 
tion as with Rousseau, but in a society of moral beings united 
by the law of duty. The end of life is not happiness but work 
in the service of humanity. (6) Intellectual development, be- 
cause of its evident limitations in relation to the deeper needs 
of the spiritual life, is less directly significant than the cultiva- 
tion of the feeling of reverence for the moral law and of a never- 

Herhart and Froebel 29 

ending aspiration towards its realization. The moral law is the 
central truth in Kant's world and is for him the essential ele- 
ment in human education. 

6. (a) Goethe (1749-1832), and Schiller (1759-1805), to- 
gether with Kant, the heroic figures in German culture — Rea- 
sons for not including the work of Goethe and Schiller in the 
Romantic Movement — Goethe's individuality — His lyrical poetry 
a sincere expression of his inner life and a faithful reflection of 
his intellectual and moral development — Influence of Rousseau, 
Lessing, Herder and Schiller — The romantic and the classical 
influences — His works as "fragments of a great confession" — 
Faust as autobiographical — The adjustment of the individual 
and collective ideals in Goethe's life and writings — Goethe as 
the apostle of self -culture — Arnold's judgment of Goethe, "the 
greatest poet of modem times . . . because he was by far 
our greatest modem man," compared with Richard Holt Hut- 
ton's, "Goethe was the wisest man of modem days, who ever 
lacked the wisdom of a child ; the deepest who never knew what 
it was to kneel in the dust with bowed head and a broken heart." 
— "I find a provision," says Emerson, "in the constitution of 
the world, for the writer or secretary, who is to report the do- 
ings of the miraculous spirit of life that everywhere throbs and 
works. His office is a reception of the facts into the mind, and 
then a selection of the eminent and characteristic experiences." 

(6) Schiller — "A hundred years may roll away, another and 
yet another, still from century to century his name shall be 
celebrated, and at last there shall come a festival when men will 
say: See! There was a truth in his ideal anticipations of freedom 
and civilization" — Three stages in Schiller's development, (i) 
eudaemonism, (2) pessimism, (3) altruism. In the two earlier 
stages Schiller was under the influence of Rousseau (see The 
Robbers, a protest against the social and political forces of the 
time ; also Ode to Rousseau, the six poems addressed to Laura, and 
Resignation) — Influence of Goethe and Kant — Opposition to 
Romanticism — Bias for historical subjects — "His ever-aspiring 
genius" — The poem The Ideal an embodiment of Schiller's 
philosophical and artistic creed. 

{c) In the present outline only three of Goethe's works are 
considered, — Faust, Wilhelm Meister, The Elective Affinities. The 

30 Educational Theories 

spiritual, i. e., educational, significance of these are indicated 
more fully in Chapter VI . For the present, attention may be 
called to several points to be noted: (i) The true significance 
and ethical import of Faust can be realized only when the two 
parts are regarded as integral elements of one organic whole; 
(2) The tendency to symbolism; (3) Goethe's conception of na- 
ture ; (4) Religious mysticism ; (5) The thirst for truth a divine 
impulse; "Ye shall not prevail"; (6) The fatalism of passion; 
(7) The community of human life; (8) The possibility of moral 
restoration. In these three works Goethe treats the problem 
of the individual. Faust is a glorification of individual culture 
consecrated to the service of humanity. Wilhelm Meister is a 
record of the incidents in the development of a soul from imma- 
turity to a conscious recognition of a world order. The Elective 
Affinities deals with the conflict between human instinct and the 
moral order of the world. Over against the destructive work 
of Rousseau, by which Goethe was so strongly influenced in his 
youth, stands the second part of Faust as a ** triumphal song of 
civilization." Over against the Emile, with its glorification of 
education through isolation, is set the Wilhelm Meister, in which 
every individual is called upon to cultivate himself in order that 
he may enter (indeed, only through entering) into his heritage of 
the wisdom of the race. ''Wilhelm Meister," writes Dr. Harris, 
''utters the watchword of this epoch in which we find ourselves.'' 

(d) Schiller's early ethical ideas betray the influence of 
Rousseau. Soon through the study of Greek art and life the 
Rousseau idea of an unrestrained life according to nature gave 
place to the conception of an harmonious, self-determined de- 
velopment of the personal life. Later Schiller came tmder the 
influence of Kant, whose insistence upon the supremacy of the 
ideal over natural instincts made a lasting impression upon 
him. "The deep, fundamental ideas of the idealistic philos- 
ophy," so he wrpte, "are an abiding treasure." He was now 
forced, however, to seek an adjustment of his ethical and his 
aesthetic creed. Schiller develops his ideas in close relation to 
the problem of culture in his Letters on the Aesthetic Education 
of Man (1795) — a development of the fundamental idea of the 
poem Die Kunstler. Antagonism between the moral and the 
sensuous is a sign of imperfect culture. Only through aesthetic 

Herbart and Froebel 31 

education can the problem be solved. This perfect adjustment 
will one day be attained in play, — ^in which man is truly man, 
self-active, self-determined, obedient to law, the sensuous na- 
ture not suppressed. Thus for Schiller artistic activity or the 
play impulse mediates between the sensuous impulse and the 
rational element in the cultured man, uniting the two in har- 
monious co-operation. Neither lust nor moral worth won 
through obedience to the stem law of duty is beautiful. Beauty 
and grace are not won through the triumph of one, nor in the 
suppression of the other. The perfect woman and children 
reveal the perfection, the original destiny of man. "Deep 
meaning oft lies hid in childish play." (In addition to the 
Letters on Aesthetic Education, see also. Die vier Weltalter, Der 
Pilgrim, Das Ideal und das Leben, Das Mddchen aus der Fremde, 
Der spielende Knabe, Das Eleusische Fest, Lied von der Glocke. 
Francke's interpretation of the spiritual significance of Schiller's 
ideals as embodied in his five great historical dramas should be 


In addition to the works of the writers mentioned, the follow- 
ing general references may be added: (i) Lessing and Herder: 
Erdmann, History of Philosophy; Francke, German Literature as 
Determined by Social Forces; Hoffding, History of Modern Phi- 
losophy, Vol. II: Nevison, Herder and his Times; Rolleston, Life 
of Lessing (with bibliography) ; Scherer, History of German Litera- 
ture; Sime, Life and Writings of Lessing; Taylor, Studies in Ger- 
man Literature; Windelband, History of Philosophy. (2) Kant: 
In addition to various histories of modem philosophy, the treatises 
of Adamson, Caird, Kuno Fischer, Paulsen, Wallace and Watson 
may be consulted. (3) Goethe and Schiller: Blackie, The Wisdom, 
of Goethe; Boyesen, Goethe and Schiller; Carlyle, Critical and Mis- 
cellaneous Essays; Davidson, Philosophy of Faust; Dowden, New 
Studies in Literature; English Goethe Society Publications; Fischer, 
Schiller-Schriften; Francke, German Literature; Harris, The Lesson 
of Goethe's Faust; Hillebrand, German Thought; Lewes, Life of 
Goethe; Nevison, Life of Schiller (with bibliography); Scherer, 
History of German Literature; Seeley, Goethe Reviewed after Sixty 
Years; Sime, Life of Goethe (with bibliography) ; Snider, Commen- 
tary on Faust; Taylor, Studies in German Literature; Thomas 
Life and Works of Friedrich Schiller; Ueberweg, Schiller als His- 
toriker und PhiLosoph. 

32 Educational Theories 

Further problems for study: 

1. Lessing's reconciliation of freedom and discipline. 

2. Lessing's principles of aesthetic criticism. 

3. Influence of (a) Lessing on Herder, (b) Lessing and Herder 

on Goethe. 

4. Comparison of Lessing's Education of the Human Race and 

Temple's Education of the World (in Essays and Reviews). 

5. Kant's conception of a 'person.' 

6. The autonomous nature of obligation in the Kantian Ethics. 

7. The individual and social elements in Kant's ethical theory. 

8. The development of psychological theory from Rousseau to 


9. Goethe's conception of nature. 

10. Goethe's ideal of culture as illustrated in Faust and Wilhelm 


11. Schiller's conception of aesthetic education. 

12. Schiller's theory of play. 


1. In the present section Romanticism is used to cover a 
twofold movement: (i) an expansion of the revolutionary in- 
dividualism and naturalism, which may be said to have had its 
beginnings in Rousseau, (2) a reactionary and reconstructive 
movement towards a collectivistic ideal of life, — an ideal which, 
from the philosophical point of view, found its most organic 
expression in the work of Hegel. The development of Roman- 
ticism — as designating a particular period of time — may thus 
be said to extend from the emergence of Rousseau in 1749 to 
the death of Hegel in 1831. These dates will serve our present 
purpose as convenient marks of identification. The second of 
the tendencies noted above was not wholly subsequent to the 
first ; it was, perhaps, in large measure. Frequently, however, 
the two tendencies are to be foimd side by side in the writings 
of the single author. 

2. As is implied in the preceding section. Romanticism, in 
the course of its evolution, was intimately related to and in- 
fluenced by the individualistic naturalism of Rousseau and the 
idealistic movement begun by Kant, more fully developed by 
Fichte and Schelling, and carried to its completion by Hegel. 

Herbart and Froebel 33 

Rousseau's naturalism and individualism embodied for the men 
of his generation the conviction (i) of the worth and rights of 
man as man and (2) of the ministry of nature to the human 
spirit. This first element of Romanticism, its tendency to 
naturalistic individualism, coming in contact with the idealistic 
movement with its organic modes of thought, was modified and 
transformed in, at least, a threefold manner, — in its relation to 
(i) man, (2) nature, (3) the Absolute. In place of the atomism 
of an earlier day there was evolved a conception according to 
which the self and the world, civilization and nature, the divine 
and the human, became parts of one organic spiritual life or 

3. The individualistic and naturalistic aspect of Romanti- 
cism is evidenced by (i) the reaction against social and political 
authority, the hatred of tyranny of whatever kind, the dualism 
of nature and culture; (2) a high development of imaginative 
sensibility, frequently bordering on sentimentalism ; (3) an 
exaltation of feeling as fimdamental and supreme, to be recog- 
nized in the conviction that intuition should supply the 
deficiencies of reason, that religion is based on feeling, that 
impulse and 'natural instincts' are the surest guides to truly 
artistic action; in the lyrical and personal note of literature; 
in the 'storm and stress' mood, with its melancholy, its ex- 
aggerated self -consciousness, its frequent tendency towards the 
morbid; (4) a melancholy love of nature, opposing nature to 
man ; preferring the solitary, the wild, the terrible, the mysteri- 
ous; idealizing the simple, unconventional ways of childhood; 
(5) a revolt against classical traditions and methods, demanding 
and suggesting joy in emotion, in color, sound, movement, the 
sense of freedom, rather than in classical precision of thought 
or form; (6) a passionate aspiration, finding expressing in the 
assurance of something nobler and truer than the present; in 
the desire for a free and harmonious development of human 
nature; in a vague nature-worship, a mystical pantheism, a 
yearning, human tenderness, a longing for intellectual excite- 
ment, and the desire to penetrate the unknown and the tmseen, 
for beauty haunted by strangeness and mystery ; in a passion for 
the past, — ^the romantic past of myth, of legend, of chivalry. 

4. This individualistic phase of Romanticism, with its as- 

34 Educational Theories 

sertion of the rights of man, its revolt against the traditional 
and conventional; its exaltation of feeling as supreme, its de- 
velopment of imaginative sensibility, its self -consciousness, its 
egotism, its melancholy ; its contempt for the present, its passion 
for the past, its renascence of wonder, of mystery, of chivalry; 
its ufiiversalism rather than its nationalism; its passionate con- 
viction of the possible harmonies between the truly natural 
man and the life of nature, of the beauty of childhood, and the 
dignity of the solitary peasant; its nature-worship and its 
pantheism; its belief in a nobler and better form of life some- 
where beyond this present real, — all these tended to carry it 
beyond itself to a more spiritual and idealistic point of view, — 
to a view of the world and life, indeed, which made Romanticism 
complementary to Idealism in initiating much that is best in 
the intellectual and spiritual life of the present. Certain of 
the more important factors making for what was spoken of in a 
preceding section as the tendency in Romanticism towards a 
collectivistic ideal of life may be briefly noted: (i) The gradual 
prevalence of organic over mechanical modes of thought. 
(Compare, e.g., Herder's conception of the relation of nature to 
man; Kant's doctrine of experience as an organic unity with 
reason as its constituent factor, leading to an idealism which 
finds in the manifold forms of human self-expression the mani- 
festation of free, spiritual life and purpose; Fichte's doctrine 
of the will as fundamental, and the medium of its realization, the 
common life of man ; Goethe's belief in the divine immanence in 
nature and humanity ; Schleiermacher's conception of the indi- 
vidual in organic relation to the world ; Hegel's conception of 
human institutions as forming one vast spiritual organism whose 
ultimate goal is the realization of the kingdom of God.) (2) 
The resultant reconstruction of the doctrine of personality. 
The freedom and the realization of the individual were no 
longer conceived of as the tinhindered expression of natural 
instinct, but as spiritual achievements, won through self- 
limitation in the presence of ideal ends. (3) As a result of the 
return to nature in literature and life, the prevalence of the 
organic mode of thought, the deepening of imaginative sensi- 
bility, not only did man draw near to nature, but nature was 
brought into a more living unity with the human spirit, and to 

Herb art and Froebel 35 

man was disclosed nature, not as a mere alien something, an 
unknown thing-in-itself, but that in which intelligence finds its 
object, a reflection of its own activity, a medium through which 
human activities reveal themselves, a source of beauty and de- 
light, a ministry to spiritual needs. (4) As a further resultant 
of the organic mode of thought meeting with the Romantic 
passion for the past, its wistful yearning for the days gone by, 
coupled with its demand for closer vision and clearer knowl- 
edge, the past was brought into more vital relation to the 
present, and this in turn gave rise to an appreciation of the con- 
tinuity of phenomena in science, in aesthetics and literature, in 
politics, in history, philosophy and theology. (Concerning the 
position of evolutionary theory during this period, see Osborne, 
From the Greeks to Darwin; Royce, The Spirit of Modern Philo- 
sophy, chap, ix ; Sully, art. Evolution in Encyclopcedia Britannica.) 
(5) The increasing fear of the tyranny of mere "reason," the 
reaction due to the social and political crisis in German life, had 
not only excited the feeling of nationality, but had quickened 
it into a passion, especially in such minds as Fichte, Schiller, 
Schleiermacher, Amdt, Komer and Uhland. The work of 
these in turn had its foundations in those ideals of life and duty 
enforced by Lessing, Herder, Kant and Goethe. (6) The 
liberating influence in the spiritual life of Germany of the study 
of Greek literature and art; of Shakespeare and Milton. (7) 
Along with the organic mode of thought there came as one of 
its manifestations a new conception of the divine immanence in 
the world, compelling **all new successions to the forms they 
wear," investing all things in nature, in art, in life, with a sense 
of the infinite, the unfathomable, the wonderful, yet ever with 
the possibility of familiar comradeship between them and the 
human soul. "I can no longer," said Lessing, "be satisfied 
with the conception of a God out of the world," and Goethe: 

"Whom I own for Father, God, Creator, 
Holds nature in himself, himself in nature. 
And in his kindly arms embraced, the whole 
Doth live and move by his pervading soul." 

5. The more prominent members of what is strictly known 
as the ' Romantic School ' were August Schlegel (1767-1845), and 

36 Educational Theories 

his brother, Friedrich Schlegel (1772-1829), who by their 
critical writings did much to strengthen the Romantic tendency ; 
Ludwig Tieck (1773-1853), the dramatist and man of letters; 
Novalis (1772-1801), and Schelling (1765-1854), its typical 
philosophers; Schleiermacher (1768-1834), the philosophic 
theologian of the movement. Friedrich Schlegel held that "the 
French Revolution, Fichte's Wissenschaftslehre, and Goethe's 
Wilhelm Meister are the greatest tendencies of the age. The 
man who takes offence at this juxtaposition, to whom no Revo- 
lution can appear great which is not noisy and material, has not 
yet risen to the high and wide standpoint of the history of man." 
(For an account of Romanticism in its critical and literary as- 
pects especially, but still as influencing philosophic specula- 
tion profoundly, see Francke, German Literature; Omond, The 
Romantic Triumph; Scherer, German Literature; also, Haym, 
Die romantische Schule; Hettner, Die romantische Schule; 
Schmidt, Geschichte der Romantik; also, Geschichte der deutschen 
Litter atur sett Lessings Tod.) 

6. In the study of the philosophy of Romanticism the 
genesis of the romantic Weltanschauung may be discovered in 
(i) a certain dissatisfaction, felt by Fichte, Schelling, and others 
who were fundamentally followers of Kant, with the Kantian 
view of experience as a whole. Through the Kantian analysis, 
it was believed, the living tinity of the spiritual life had not been 
preserved. On the other hand, the deepest element in the 
Kantian system was the thought of synthesis, of self -activity as 
the essence of spirit. The question was asked, most persuasively 
by Fichte, Should not this fundamental element, the spontaneity, 
the synthetic activity of spirit, be made the point of departure 
in philosophical construction? Would not atomism, isolation, 
externality disappear, if all things in the world of nature (Schell- 
ing) and in the life of man (Fichte) could be shown as mani- 
festations of one Life or Spirit operative in them? (2) The 
revival of the study of Spinoza, Leibnitz, Bruno, Bohme, who 
inspired such as Herder, Goethe, Schelling, Schleiermacher and 
Novalis with an enthusiasm for nature and the world conceived 
as an organic whole. (3) The belief that truth is revealed not 
in reason alone, but in the feelings and intuitions of the human 
soul. (4) The development of the sciences and the growth of 

Herbart and Froebel 37 

the idea of the unity of nature. [Important names are Lavoisier 
(1743-1794), Humboldt (i 769-1859), Goethe (1749-1832)]. (5) 
The new conception of history. (6) The development of a new 
content in the religious consciousness. (7) The growth of a 
new and more spiritual type of art criticism and interpretation. 
(8) The growing disinclination clearly to distinguish between 
aesthetic, philosophic and religious ideas. Novalis, for example, 
declared that the separation between poetry and philosophy is 
superficial and ingenious. 

7. For Schelling's relation to Fichte and Hegel, see Chapter 
V. In a study of his relation to Romanticism, note: (i) His work 
a spirit — an outcome of poetical intuition ; a tendency of thought 
rather than a system. (2) Nature not, as for Fichte, a mere 
abstract limit to the infinite striving of spirit, but the mani- 
festation of one formative energy or soul. Nature and spirit 
complementary parts of a unitary process. **The system of 
nature is at the same time the system of our spirit. Nature is 
visible spirit ; spirit is invisible nature." (3) His attempt at the 
reconciliation of opposites or differences within nature and 
mind. As in nature are exhibited the dynamic stages or pro- 
cesses in the struggle of spirit towards consciousness, so in the 
world of mind are disclosed the manifold stages through which 
self -consciousness, with its opposites and reconciliations, struggles 
towards its ideals. (4) His symbolism, and his application of 
organic conceptions to the various levels of existence. [Com- 
pare, also, the work of his disciples: Cams (1789-1869), Oersted 
(1777-1851), Oken (1779-1851), Steffens (1773-1845).] 

8. (a) In the study of the work of Schleiermacher there 
should be noted: (i) Its union of critical reflection, appreciation 
of historical method, philosophic breadth, moral intensity, and 
devotional spirit. (2) Its adherence, for the most part, to the 
general world-view of Romanticism, which attempts to grasp 
in one homogeneous form the entire content of life. (3) Its 
theory that philosophy finds the best guarantee of its truth in 
the religious conviction it engenders. (4) The idea of God, as 
the unity of thought and being, underlying human knowledge 
as its presupposition. (5) Its conviction that the innermost life 
of man must be lived in feeling, and that this, and this alone can 
bring man into immediate relation to the Highest. Religion 

38 Educational Theories 

consists in the immediate consciousness that all finite things 
exist in and through the infinite: all things temporal in and 
through the eternal. (6) Since religion is conceived as that 
which affords the highest point of view, ("giving to life its 
music") or rather as the fundamental mode of our participa- 
tion in the spiritual life, it follows that intellectual, moral and 
aesthetic culture can attain their perfection only when they 
lead back to living in the immediate feeling of the infinite as 
that which surrounds and supports all finite individualities, all 
finite existence. It is not to be understood that this religious 
feeling is purely passive, or cesthetic religiousness: rather 
its true form is teleological religiousness whose highest form is 
labor for the advancement of the kingdom of God. (7) Its 
emphasis on the positive significance of the individual. Each 
man should express humanity in his own way and with a unique 
blending of its elements. 

(b) Schleiermacher's theory of nature and ethics: (i) Schleier- 
macher recognizes, first of all, an antithesis between the real 
and ideal, organism and intelligence, nature and reason. The 
opposition is, however, not absolute, since in life both elements 
are united. Underlying nature is universal reason as organizing 
principle. Attaining to consciousness in man Reason finds itself 
partly in conflict, partly in harmony with nature. There is 
always a relative harmony. The end and aim of human thought 
and activity is to lessen the extent of this opposition between 
man and the world. Consciousness itself, with its \mion of 
antithetic elements, is proof that the reconciliation is not hope- 
less. Back of nature and mind is a unity, a life, the common 
ground of nature and humanity, the principle of knowledge, 
the presupposition of the ethical life of man, a life whose best 
witness is the religious consciousness. (2) Starting with the 
(apparent) dualism of ego and non-ego, Schleiermacher con- 
ceives the life of man to consist in their interaction, its infinite 
goal, their interpenetration. The ego is body and soul in one. 
The organization of the self has its rational aspect: the reason, 
its organic element. Every extension of consciousness is higher 
life: individuality increases through increasing participation in 
the life of nature and humanity. The metaphysical basis of 
the ethical life was noted above, namely, the ultimate unity of 

Herbart and Froebel 39 

nature and reason ; its psychological basis is found in the im- 
pulse of reason to organize nature — ^the human body as well as 
outer nature — as the instrument of its purposes. Thus ethical 
development stands to nature in the relation of reciprocal action. 
The ethical process is twofold: (i) an organizing principle, 
through which man attempts to make himself master of nature, 
(ii) a symbolizing activity through which he seeks to give ex- 
pression to his spiritual life. Thus for Schleiermacher the en- 
tire development of human culture is a part of the ethical 
development of man. The organizing activity produces the forms 
of property and of human intercourse: the symbolizing activity 
gives rise to the poetic and artistic expressions of feeling, and 
the manifold forms of science: the united products constitute 
the triumphs or achievements of humanity as reason, in a word, 
civilization, and thus spiritual intercourse and the social con- 
ditions of moral action. The individual, as an individualization 
of universal reason, attains moral worth according as he posi- 
tively manifests in a distinct and peculiar way common human 
nature. This unique expression, this fulfilment of the moral 
function, is not, however, produced in isolation, but only through 
participation in the various forms of the ethical life, — ^the home, 
the school, society, the state, and the church. These are the 
instruments or organs which Reason has found to minister most 
efficiently to the higher life of man. The individual makes his 
moral problem in the actual relationships of society. But "with- 
out love, there is no culture." "In virtue of his [Schleier- 
macher's], fine understanding of Nature," says Hoffding, "and of 
thej*conditions of personal life he takes his place as one of the 
leading spirits in the Romanticist circle." 


In addition to the works of the authors and references cited in 
the section, and the various histories of philosophy, see Bosanquet, 
A History of Esthetic; Brandes, The Romantic Movement in Germany; 
Coar, Studies in German Literature in the Nineteenth Century; 
Francke, History of German Literature; Omond, The Romantic Tri- 
umph; Pfleiderer, Development of Theology since Kant; Royce, 
The Spirit of Modern Philosophy; Watson, Schelling's Transcen- 
dental Idealism; Wundt, Ethical Systems. 

40 Educational Theories 

Further problems for study: 

1. Goethe's relation to Romanticism. 

2. The Romantic element in the philosophy of Fichte. 

3. Schelling's interpretation of nature. 

4. Contributions of Romanticism to ethical theory. 

5. The relation of Romanticism to the Naturalism of Rousseau. 

6. Novalis. 

7. Schleiermacher's concepion of individuality. 

8. The individual and social tendencies in the Romantic move- 

ment, • 


I. The progress of philosophy consists not so much in 
stages of discovery as in a gradual process of absorption of 
earlier problems into problems more complex and more inclu- 
sive. The wonderful vitality of the philosophic movement 
dominated by Fichte, Schelling and Hegel was due to three 
causes: (i) the legacy of the Critical philosophy, (2) a favorable 
environment, (3) the constructive insight of these three leaders. 
Although it seems just to maintain that the legitimate outcome 
of Kant's theory of knowledge is that outlined in Chapter III, 
sec. 5, yet Kant was never entirely able to maintain himself in 
this position.' A dualist ic and mechanical view of knowledge 
still haunts his system: indeed, in several places, notably in 
his Refutation of Idealism, inserted in the second edition of the 
Critique, he advances arguments amounting to a flat denial of 
Idealism, in making which he strangely enough gives up his 
own position, namely, the organic relation of subject and object. 
To overthrow the assumption of the independent existence of 
subject and object, of mind and nature, constitutes the peculiar 
problem of Fichte and Hegel from the epistemological point of 
view. No one, of course, will deny that sensations are due to 
the action of objects on the organism. Fichte and Hegel main- 
tain that on Kant's own showing these objects are themselves 
determined by intelligence. Neither as object of knowledge, 
nor as existence, therefore, are subject and object unrelated to 
each other: the subject has no nature of its own independently 

Herbart and Froebel 41 

of the object, nor the object independently of the subject. The 
assumption of the independent existence of subject and object 
is very natural for the reason that, when we begin to explain 
knowledge, we already have knowledge. But in accounting 
for the origin of knowledge we have no right to start from the 
independent existence of subject and object unless it can be 
shown that such independent existence of subject and object 
can be known. When Kant asks, therefore, **By what means 
should our activity of knowledge be aroused into activity but 
by objects?" he neglects the significance of his own position, 
namely, that neither object nor subject exists for knowledge 
prior to knowledge, and that to ask how the subject should be 
aroused to activity by the object is to ask how a non-existent 
object should act upon a non-existent subject. In seeking for 
an answer to the question. What is contributed by the subject 
and. What comes from the object ? the previous question must 
be answered, Is any such separation of subject and object per- 
missible? If there is no known subject which does not imply 
a known object, if, in other words, both subject and object are 
the result of a unitary process of experience, it follows that the 
element belonging to the one cannot be separated from the 
element belonging to the other. 

Here, then, we find the essential contribution of the post- 
Kantian epistemology. Kant, though apparently starting from 
the opposition of subject and object, pointed the way to the 
overthrow of this position. He, however, could never wholly 
get away from the position that while the known object does not 
exist apart from the subject, the real object does so exist. 
Fichte and Hegel, on the contrary, would remove the incon- 
sistency by insisting upon the logical implication of the position 
that for knowledge the object is not an independent existence 
but one in and for a conscious subject. If for knowledge the self 
and the world, spirit and nature, exist for each other, then as 
existences they are not independent of each other. For, since 
spatial and temporal relations, and the categories which de- 
termine objectivity have a meaning only within knowledge or 
experience, it follows that they can no more belong to the sub- 
ject than to the object, but only to the subject in so far as there 
has arisen for it the consciousness of an object determinable 

42 Educational Theories 

tinder these relations. The object has no existence for the 
subject except as the subject distinguishes it from and yet re- 
lates it to itself. Whatever the object is, it is for a subject, and 
any other object is a fiction of abstraction. If this be granted, it 
follows that there can be no opposition between the matter 
and the form of knowledge: no opposition, i.e., between a 
matter which comes from the object, and a form contributed 
by the subject. This is, in brief, the contention of Fichte 
and Hegel in their attempt to remove the contradiction in the 
epistemology of Kant. In other words, for them, the science 
of knowing and the science of being are organically one and 

2. The investigation of Kant resulted in the discovery of 
the self, or ego, as the supreme condition of our intellectual and 
moral experience. Starting from this principle of unity Fichte 
(1762-1814), followed by Schelling, made it, as absolute, their 
metaphysical principle. For Fichte, as for Hegel, philosophy 
means the systematic development of thought from its most 
abstract phase to the wealth and fulness of real existence. His 
task, as he conceived it, was to bring into organic connection 
the disjecta membra of the Kantian system. The connection be- 
tween mind and nature, suggested by Kant, pointed to a common 
root of both, an organic unity with many antitheses: that the 
objective universe of nature and history, in that it is intelligible, 
is the working of an immanent Reason to which man's con- 
sciousness is akin. Fichte's problem was ever the determina- 
tion of the relation between reason as practical and reason as 
cognitive. This idealism, begun by Kant and Fichte, and 
carried to its fuller completion by Schelling and Hegel, was 
destined to raise the modem mind to a higher consciousness, 
blending as it did "the realism of the ancient world and the 
inwardness and ideality of the Christian religion." 

3. A brief outline summary of the more important features 
in Fichte's teaching may be given as follows: 

(a) Theory of knowledge: (i) The task of philosophy is the 
explanation of experience. Within experience we find 'ideas 
of things.* With dogmatism we may deduce the idea from the 
thing, or, with idealism, the thing from the idea. The individual's 
world-conception (for the acceptance of either method involves 

Herbart and Froebel 43 

such a conception) thus depends on what kind of man he is. 
(2) By the ' thing-in -itself Kant meant to assert nothing more 
than the tinity and absolute objectivity which the mind gives 
in perception to its own creations. In experience object and 
subject imply each other. The term object does not, indeed 
cannot, take us beyond the limits of the mind. (3) A science 
of knowledge (the science of sciences) must be based upon one 
single fimdamental principle, one which cannot be proved; 
otherwise it would be worthless as the starting-point of a system. 
The only absolute proof of such a principle or hypothesis is to 
be found in what it will do for us, and ''everything depends upon 
the attempt.'' Our first inquiry, then, is for the unconditioned 
fimdamental principle which is to express that deed-act — ^the 
activity not occurring among the empirical determinations of 
our consciousness (since it is impossible so to occur), for the 
reason that it is the basis of all consciousness and first and alone 
makes consciousness possible. (4) In interrogating conscious- 
ness we find an ego, and a non-ego; but the latter is found only 
in virtue of the spiritual activity of the ego or self. Our first 
principle is, therefore, "the ego posits itself," and the second, 
"the ego posits a non-ego." Through the method of antithetical 
connection a third principle emerges "the ego posits a limited 
ego in opposition to a limited non-ego.'' It is not of course to 
be supposed that Fichte held that the special content of experi- 
ence might be deduced from general principles. If we forget this 
"in our endeavor to explain the whole of life, we shall lose life 
itself" (see, On the Nature of a Scholar). For Fichte, then, the 
fundamental principle of a theory of knowledge is "there is 
nothing in the ego which is not the product of the ego's own 
activity"; everything in consciousness is due to a unitary, 
spiritual activity, a conception based on the essential inward- 
ness and validity of the spiritual life. Ultimately all reality 
must be referred to self -consciousness. Man's innermost es- 
sence is in willing and working. All our presentations are con- 
ditioned by our will. Being is life, inner, active life. (5) To 
the question, "Why does the ego posit a non-ego within itself?" 
no answer can be given from the theoretical point of view. 
Apart from the demands of our moral consciousness it remains 
inexplicable. In the moral consciousness alone is the true 

44 Educational Theories 

significance of self -activity, the world of nature and of humanity 

(6) Theory of Ethics: (i) As in the sphere of cognition, so in 
that of practice, the conception of the original activity of the 
self is fundamental. The moral consciousness reveals effort, 
struggle, aspiration towards ideal ends, as the supreme good. 
Activity, struggle, aspiration presuppose limitation, resistance. 
There would be no moral life without a system of limits, of ob- 
jects to encounter, of resistances to overcome. No activity, no 
world: no world to overcome, no self-realization! Nature is 
the material of duty. (2) Activity at first directed through in- 
stinct upon objects becomes for a time dependent upon them. 
The activity, being infinite and therefore unsatisfied with finite 
objects, quickens reflection and reflection liberates the activity. 
Thus is freedom possible. Natural wants may thus become 
instrumental to the attainment of freedom. Thus in the 
ethical law, "Every particular action should form part of a 
series which leads the individual to complete spiritual freedom," 
are reason and sense adjusted. (3) In that the essential fact in 
morality consists in the submission of the will to the moral law, 
Fichte thinks of being as the moral nature forced to build itself 
a natural order in which it may yield obedience to the moral 
law, and to become self -separative in a community of ethical in- 
dividualities, through wliom the moral virtues may he realized. 
Thus the existence of other egos and of a world in which these 
egos may act is "the necessary condition of a consciousness of 
freedom." The outer world, then, the not -self, is just as large 
as the individual's spiritual activity makes it. 

{c) The Absolute for Fichte is the moral consciousness uni- 
versalized and conceived as absolute moral activity from which 
originate nature and society. Fichte's significance consists in 
the recognition of rational self-activity as the basis of a con- 
ception of the world, of the validity and supremacy of the 
inner, spiritual life. Where he fails is in his neglect to attempt 
an explanation of the relation between his * schema ' of spiritual 
evolution and the historical and the actual evolution of nature 
and humanity. For his neglect of the riches of intelligence as 
disclosed in the development of nature and history, Fichte's 
thought has been accused of being purely subjective idealism — 

Herbart and Froebel 45 

a charge not wholly without foundation. Support from ex- 
perience to the essential principle of his idealism was to be 
brought from nature by Schelling, from history by Hegel. (See 
also, Royce, The Spirit of Modern Philosophy, pp. 152-153.) 

4. Though strongly influenced by the Fichtean idealism, 
Schelling 's permanent tendency was to give to the method of 
Fichte a more objective application and to unite with it the 
more realistic view of existence gained from his study of Spinoza. 
With the Romanticists generally, Schelling felt that Fichte had 
endangered the reality of the world of nature by conceiving it as 
merely an abstract limit to the infinite striving of spirit. Nature 
rather is a unity, a manifold for ordinary perception, but for 
reason not merely stuff for thought but a unity, the manifesta- 
tion of one formative energy, the radiance of a divine mani- 
festation. It is a realization of spirit: its outward forms are 
not imposed from without, but the outcome of an inner teleology. 
It is self -forming, the outcome of the same spirit, though un- 
conscious, of which we are aware in self -consciousness. Nature 
and spirit are complementary parts of a unitary process. Schel- 
ling, accordingly, attempted to supplement Fichte by exhibiting 
nature as an intelligible system, as a function or process of 
intelligence towards self -consciousness as its necessary goal, i.e., 
to show its essential oneness with the ego as intelligent, and not, 
as Descartes had done, as the "dead antithesis of conscious 
thought." Having as the animating principle of his thought 
(for him the inner type, indeed, of all things) the notion of the 
reconciliation of opposites or differences, in his attempt to adjust 
the changes of nature with the conception of unity in productive 
force, Schelling reaches the notion of duality, or polar opposition 
through which nature manifests itself in a dynamical series of 
changes — matter, light, and organism. And just as in nature 
through these processes the spirit struggles to consciousness 
(compare the theory of Leibnitz), so in the world of mind are 
disclosed the stages through which self-consciousness with its 
inevitable antagonisms and reconciliations struggles towards 
ideal forms. Nature is no alien power: the object is intelligible 
because it is of like essence with the subject. Nature is spirit 
manifest. Schelling's inquiry, therefore, is directed towards a 
comprehension of the unity of the world under the one principle 

46 Educational Theories 

of organic development. One further point should be mentioned. 
Schelling had come to see that nature and personaHty are not 
two things, but are correlatives rather. In the Identity Phi- 
losophy, however, in his explication of this position, he returned 
to the position of Spinoza, in which subject and object, mind 
and nature, are regarded as parallel developments of equal 
importance and value. All difference is merged in absolute 
oneness. He finds nothing in spirit but what he had found in 
natttre. In this admission, it woiild appear that Schelling 
eliminated the real import of the idealistic principle as funda- 
mental to the thought of Kant, Fichte, and Hegel. (See fur- 
ther brief notes on this point in Hegel's Doctrine of the Will, pp. 
26-27, 30-31, 34-41-) 

5. The problem of Hegel (1770-183 1) is still the problem of 
Kant and Fichte, namely. What does experience involve, and 
what is the intimate nature of the consciousness which that 
experience presupposes ? All three were in essential agreement 
in maintaining that the fimdamental error of the older philoso- 
phy had been the doctrine of the independent existence of 
the world without and the world within, and that only in the 
recognition of their organic unity can any explanation of their 
relations one to the other be offered. The true nature of this 
principle of organic unity is disclosed in self -consciousness. The 
implications of this position had been only imperfectly grasped 
by Kant and Fichte. Schelling, though beginning well, had 
ended with Spinozism. Hegel, too, recognized that self -con- 
sciousness is the unity to which every manifold must be referred. 
But he was the first to show in systematic form, through an 
exhibition of the categories as antithetical yet 'interlocked 
moments ' in the very nature of the self, that self -consciousness 
is founded upon difference; that consciousness is a 'many -in- 
one,' — ^an organic whole in which the opposition between the 
self and the external world is overcome. (For a more adequate 
statement than could justly be given in a brief outline of Hegel's 
interpretation of nature and history, especially the latter, on 
the basis of this theory of self -consciousness, see any one of the 
following works: Caird, Hegel; Harris, The Logic of Hegel; Wal- 
lace, art. Hegel in Encyclopcedia Britannica. For an account 
of Hegel's theory of ethics and of the ethical development from 

Herbart and Froebel 47 

Kant to Hegel, see Hegel's Doctrine of the Will.) In the study 
of the ethical significance of Hegel's work the following points 
at least should be noted: (i) The three aspects or stages of 
every truth or reality, thesis, antithesis, synthesis. (2) Con- 
sciousness as an indissoluble unity of opposites. (3) The Ab- 
solute as spiritual. (4) The world of nature and humanity a 
process of development, a manifestation of the Absolute. (5) 
The notion of moral progress by antagonism. The conscious- 
ness of self implies a consciousness of not -self, and grows with 
it and by means of it. Its progress is thus one of self-deter- 
mination and self-realization through environment — ^the environ- 
ment of an intellectual and moral world. 

In his Logic of Hegel Dr. Harris says that the test of any sys- 
tem of philosophy is the account it gives of the institutions of 
civilization. "What does it see in human history and the in- 
stitutions of the family, civil society, the state, the church?" 
It is in Hegel's attempt to answer this question, to trace in the 
manifold forms of institutional life the element of rationality 
and of spiritual significance, and to indicate how the culture 
and perfecting of the individual life is not attained by the one 
whose life is lived in accordance with mere nature, nor by him 
who "cares but to pass into the silent life," but by the one who 
sees treasured up in the various relations of concrete social 
life, — ^the family, the community, the state, the church, — the 
spiritual experience of the human race, and who, supported by 
this insight, is living a shared life along the beaten highways of 
this common world. Not elsewhere, according to Hegel, is the 
way which leads to the everlasting life. 


Besides the works of Fichte and Hegel (especially Fichte's 
Science of Rights, and Hegel's Philosophy of Right and Philosophy 
of History) and the various histories of philosophy, the following 
interpretations may be consulted on particular points: Adamson, 
Fichte, also, Lectures on Modern Philosophy; Baillie, The Origin and 
Significance of Hegel's Logic; Bosanquet, Philosophical Theory of the 
State; Caird (E.), Hegel; Caird (J.), The Philosophy of Religion; 
Everett, Fichte's Science of Knowledge; Harris, Logic of Hegel; 
Hibben, The Logic of Hegel; Jodl, Geschichte der Ethik in der 
neuren Philosophic; McTaggart, Studies in the Hegelian Dialectic ^ 
also, Studies in the Hegelian Cosmology ;^ Seth, From Kant to Hegel, 
also, Hegelianism and Personality; Stirling, Secret of Hegel; Wal- 
lace, Lectures and Essays on Natural Theology and Ethics, Pro- 
legomena to the Logic of Hegel, also Hegel's Philosophy of Mind 
{Introductory Essays). 

48 Educational Theories 

Further problems for study: 

1. Fichte's conception of individuality. 

2. The significance for educational theory of Fichte's doctrine of 


3. Fichte's conception of institutions. 

4. The development of the conception of the 'antithetical 

method' in Kant, Fichte, Schelling, and Hegel. 

5. Hegel's doctrine of freedom. 

6. Hegel's conception of the state. 

7. Hegel's conception of the parallelism between the develop- 

ment of the individual and the evolution of the race. 



I. In a study of the evolution of educational ideas from 
Rousseau to Froebel it is necessary to keep in mind the intimate 
but complex intellectual relations of the three great movements 
of the period, outlined, with a view to their educational signifi- 
cance chiefly, in the preceding sections, namely, (i) the 
revolutionary naturalism of Rousseau, (2) romanticism, (3) the 
transcendental development in philosophy from Kant to Hegel. 
All three movements center ultimately about the question, 
What is the right life of the soul? Without any attempt at com- 
pleteness of statement and without being oblivious of their 
evident shortcomings, the more important elements of the 
ethical and cultural significance in these three movements may 
be noted: 

(a) Naturalism: (i) In asserting the innate goodness of 
human nature, the natural impulse of man towards perfection, 
the ideal simplicity of nature against the existing conven- 
tionalisms, forced the recognition of the essential humanity of 
the individual as opposed to the artificial products of culture 
and society. (2) In opposing nature to man, it awakened a 
passionate love of natural scenery, and an interest in the liberty 
and spontaneity of childhood. (3) In maintaining that the 
natural man is perverted by civilization it served to emphasize 
the truth that man grows by development, not by aggregation. 

ih) Romanticism: (i) It helped to disclose certain of the 

Herbart and Froebel 49 

deepest things in nature and human life by its emphasis upon 
the validity of feeling and intuition in the human soul. (2) 
By its discontent with the actual world and its attempt through 
art and literature to depict a truer and worthier one, it served 
to give an intensity and elevation to thought in the presenta- 
tion of more spiritual ideals of life. (3) It tended to look upon 
literature, art, philosophy, the life of nature and the past from 
a purely religious standpoint, not merely deepening these, but 
widening the religious consciousness as well. (4) Through its 
Ver}^ tendency to iconoclasm Romanticism gave rise to the de- 
mand and search for fact. (5) It asserted that the true spiritual 
life is not constrained and forbidding, but spontan^us, Jree, 
and beautiful. (6) Above all, perhaps, it stood for man as man 
as tts central interest, since for it "above all nations is humanity." 
{c) Idealism: (i) Becoming penetrated with organic ideas, 
served to set the errors and extravagances of Naturalism and 
Romanticism in clear relief, while asserting the independence,, 
the validity, and true inwardness of spiritual life in a manner 
not possible to them. (2) While asserting the supremacy of the 
"inner over the outer. Idealism maintained that only by the 
light of the inner can the world without be viewed and inter- 
preted. (3) In the fact of consciousness, which must build its 
own world of experience, and in the moral law which is at once 
autonomous and imperative, Idealism disclosed the basis of an 
individualism and a type of society which while real is but "in 
the making," and therefore that (4) life is not a fixed condition, 
but a movement, through struggle and failure, towards further 
individualization and yet more intimate forms of social unity. 
(5) Idealism, starting with the fact of self-consciousness in man 
— since it is self-consciousness that makes him man — and 
attempting to discover the interrelations of the individual mind 
and of human institutions, showed that not in isolation, but only 
in an environment of social institutions is the individual to 
find fulfilment for his will and assert his freedom, since the in- 
stitutional life of man is the objective expression of his free- 
dom, of the moral ideal thus far realized. (6) Idealism asserted 
the connection of nature and history by means of the concept 
of development. It showed, moreover, not merely that man 
realizes himself only as he comes into relation with social 

5© Educational Theories 

institutions, but that he comes to know himself only as he comes 
to know the objective world of nature as well. For idealism, 
nature is neither indifferent nor extraneous to the life of man. 
The opposition is but apparent, for in man nature is at once 
completed and transcended. From nature man's life begins: 
through nature he becomes self-conscious: the stimulus of 
nature is the condition of man's self-assertion: in mastery of 
nature is his self-realization. But for Idealism nature is in- 
telligible and man intelligent because they are not completely 
isolable entities, but, with humanity, are members of a greater 
whole, an absolute, spiritual life, of whom and to whom are all 
things. (For the significance of Idealism as an interpretation 
of the method of the personal life, see the writings of Caird (E.) and 
Wallace. A fine, though brief, statement is to be found in John 
Caird 's Philosophy of Religion, Chap. IX. The above char- 
acteristics are somewhat more fully developed in the mono- 
graph, HegeVs Doctrine of the Will.) 

2. In turning to the consideration of Rousseau's educa- 
tional theory the most important point to be noted is that as a 
theory it is altogether the logical implication of his general 
social philosophy. In both the fundamental idea is that of the 
natural goodness of human nature. Man comes into the world 
with no innate depravity. It is an evil education in degenerate, 
social institutions that corrupts him. Eliminate all such evil 
influences, and the very force of his inherent nature, in itself 
good, will assert itself and impel him towards its perfection. The 
Emile is but one phase of the larger social theory. Its central 
idea seems to be this, — ^the corruption of human life and human 
society is due to the artificial restraint imposed on the indi- 
vidual by intellectual culture and social organization. The 
educational theory, therefore, starts from the assumption that, 
if these restraints imposed by society and civilization are 
broken, and the original nature of man be given free play, a life 
of natural innocence and perfection will result. 

(a) As in his treatises upon the inequality of man he traces 
the progress of the race from the natural to the civilized, so in 
the Emile Rousseau proposed an entirely similar problem. 
Emile is humanity personified, in the natural condition of 
childhood : a tutor teaches this child of nature naturally. Edu- 

Herbart and Froebel 51 

cation must through isolation free the individual from the con- 
taminating influence of human intercourse. Later Emile is to 
enter the 'civilized' condition, the human relations of the 
present world. The main argument of the Emile may be out- 
lined as follows": (i) The individual is naturally good. (2) 
Since the individual is debased by society the only hope of re- 
form lies in an education according to nature. (3) The aim of 
such an education should be to make the individual independent 
and self-sufficient; in a sense, a republic in himself. (4) Edu- 
cation should be natural as a free expression of the individual's 
instinctive and impulsive life, — ''Nature's course of develop- 
ment.'' (5) The rational and moral nature of the child should 
be trained for the most part through the recognition and dis- 
cipline of consequences. (6) Up to the twelfth year the educa- 
tion should be negative; the attempt not to gain time but to 
lose it, should be made. Let the body and the senses be de- 
veloped but the mind lie fallow. (7) No religious prejudices 
should be permitted, no books read, save Robinson Crusoe and 
the book of Nature. 

(b) A lack of uniformity in Rousseau's usage of 'Nature' 
should be noted. It is used to designate (i) an element in his 
general naturalistic philosophy, that man is naturally good, but 
becomes depraved by society. The fall of man is his fall into 
institutions. (2) As designating a state of liberty and equality, 
for which education should prepare. (3) In the sense of edu- 
cation according to the method or principles of human nature. 
(4) In the sense of education through contact with the things of 
nature, without the interference of man. In this case nature is 
used in the sense of inanimate or subhuman nature. Education 
in this sense means education through contact with physical 

{c) The appreciation and criticism of Rousseau's educa- 
tional ideas naturally center about (i) the conception of educa- 
tion as the fundamental form of social reconstruction; (2) the 
conception of the state of nature; (3) the conception of the re- 
lation of the individual to society ; (4) the confusion of natural 
spontaneity with spiritual freedom; (5) the conception of 
negative education; (6) the conception of education through 
isolation versus education through participation; (7) the idea 

52 Educational Theories 

of the individuality of the child as point of departure in educa- 
tion; (8) the conception of the ethical personality of the child 
as motive in education ; (9) his appreciation of the significance 
of the study of the child; (10) the conception of development 
rather than instruction; (11) his influence upon Herder, Goethe, 
Basedow, Kant, Pestalozzi, and indirectly upon Froebel. 

3. Basedow (1723-1790) and his educational ideas — Rela- 
tion to Rousseau — Basedow and Goethe — Goethe's preference 
for the Orbis Pictus to the Elementary — ^the Book of Method for 
parents and teachers — Education according to nature — Basedow 
on individuality — Realism. 

4. (a) In an appreciation of the ethical and educational 
significance of the work of Kant, the following points should be 
noted: (i) The significance for philosophy of the general inquiry 
into the conditions of experience. (2) The significance of Kant's 
critical method in the determination of the philosophical bases 
of education conceived as the process through which the individual 
gains control of his experience. (3) His critical and educational 
interest. (4) The idea of organism as uniting the individual 
with nature, society, and the race. (5) Synthesis {not neces- 
sarily appearing as object of consciousness) as the fundamental 
form of the activity of consciousness. (6) The doctrine of the 
self -activity of pure reason. (7) The attempt to discover the 
intimate structure of knowledge and the adaptation of objective 
nature to the human mind — of the intelligible world to intelligence. 
(8) The unity of the theoretical and practical reason. (9) His 
doctrine of personality. (10) Morality as the aim of life, and 
duty as regulative in the educational process. "A pedagogy of 
the Will." (11) The actual content of his Lectures on Educa- 
tion. (12) The cultural and the mora/ aims. (13) Reason and 
Faith in the personal life. (14) The significance of Kant's moral 
idealism in subsequent thought. 

[For a good statement of the place of Kant's thought in the 
history of education, see the introduction in Dr. Buchner's edi- 
tion of the Lectures on Pedagogy. (Kanfs Educational Theory.)] 

(b) It is necessary to indicate briefly the significance of the 
Kantian epistemology for educational methodology. Funda- 
mentally the problem of subject-matter and method in education 
is one with the question of epistemology in philosophy; that 

Herbart and Froebel " 53 

is, the problem of the relation of subject and object, of reason 
and experience, of intelligence or mind to the world. The 
Cartesian dualism is the epistemology which underlies the 
ordinary views of the relation of subject-matter and method. 
According to Descartes, the mind and the world, consciousness 
and matter are absolute disparates. The mind on the one hand 
is an entity by itself, with its own peculiar nature, its formal 
faculties, and peculiar modes of operation. It can be studied in 
and by itself, quite apart from its surroundings, apart from its 
relations to the environment, as we would say in the terminology 
of the present. The world or nature, on the other hand, was 
the absolute opposite of mind, a purely material thing, at best 
a mere object for intelligence or spirit, but in itself, or in its own 
structure not conceived as embodying or reflecting intelligence or 
spirit. Against this dualism a reaction set in and in two direc- 
tions — Empiricism and Rationalism. Empiricism, minimizing 
the work of mind, attempted to show how the mental world is 
but part of a material world and is gradually built up through 
the agency of this wider material world. This is practically the 
position of Hobbes, Locke, and, from one point of view, of Her- 
bart. On the other hand. Rationalism, especially Leibnitz, 
proceeded to show how the material world is a gradual evolution 
in consciousness. Every monad, or individual soul, contains 
the world implicitly. Kant's significance consisted in his at- 
tempt to mediate between these two extreme positions: his 
attempt, in other words, to show that, if the mind's life is in 
any sense a process, evolution is as necessary as involution, and 
involution as essential as evolution. 

The counterpart of philosophical dualism in educational 
theory and practice, as was said above, is the dualism which in 
large measure obtains in the conception of the relations between 
subject-matter and method at the present time. They are 
treated as though they were quite as separable as the mind and 
matter of philosophic dualism. On the one hand, the subject- 
matter is classified and arranged as a pre-existing, objective, 
material, ready to be imported into the mind. Method on the 
other hand is regarded as a purely formal affair, an altogether 
psychological matter, as though the mind were self-subsisting 
apart from its relations, or its environment, and had certain 

54 Educational Theories 

powers, or modes of functioning in and for itself after the manner 
of philosophic dualism. There is thus an intrinsic separation 
between mind and subject-matter. Methods, of necessity, be- 
came mechanical for the simple reason that they became little 
more than statements of devices by which the hard and fast 
dualism between the isolated mind on the one hand with its 
ways of working, and a separated, isolated subject-matter on 
the other, might for the brief space of the school period be over- 
come. If, however, it be maintained that from the epistemo- 
logical point of view the so-called 'subject' (mind) and the 
so-called 'object' (the world) are equally the differentiated 
aspects or results of a unitary process, we are inevitably forced 
to the conclusion that subject-matter and method are not 
isolable entities, but are fundamentally the terminal or differen- 
tiated aspects of the process of development of a unitary ex- 
perience. Subject-matter, accordingly, is relative to the nature 
of the individual. It is not something hard and fixed, external 
to the mind. The educational process is not the outcome of a 
mind with pre-formed faculties exercising upon external material, 
nor is it the adaptation of a mind to a material completely pre- 
determined. It is a process in which the organization of the 
material goes hand in hand with the organization or realization 
of a self or person. (See also, Syllabus of a Course on the Phil- 
osophy of Education, pp. 20-24, 4i-43» 58-59. On the general 
significance of Kant's theory of knowledge, see Caird, The Critical 
Philosophy of Kant. Other factors cooperated with the Kantian 
epistemology to make the position of philosophic dualism seem 
untenable, factors which can be merely enumerated: (i) The 
development of the Nature-philosophy of Schelling and Hegel. 
(2) The growth of industry and an appreciation of its depend- 
ence upon science and nature. (3) The growth of the nature- 
sense. (4) The abandonment of the faculty psychology and 
the adoption of a psychology of a more social, voluntaristic, 
and pragmatic type. (5) The adoption of an evolutionary or 
dynamic view of reality and experience.) 

5. In the work of Fichte, considered from the educational 
point of view, the following points should be noted: (i) The 
influence of Kant and Pestalozzi. (2) The ethical significance 
of the unitary, free, self - activity of reason, theoretical and 

Herbart and Froebel 55 

practical. (3) Reason in its practical aspect {i.e., as will) 
ftindamental. (4) The world intelligible only from the stand- 
point of spirit, as spirit only from the standpoint of will. (5) 
The world as the product of mind, as the material of duty mani- 
fest to sense, and the voice of duty as the highest manifestation 
of the divine. (6) The dependence of the ethical life upon a 
system of limits. (7) Action in accordance with one's own con- 
viction of duty. (8) The somewhat negative conception of 
institutions coupled with the ideal of individual passion and 
service for the common life. The thought of Fichte is in life, 
action, service. His desire was ever not so much to inform, as 
to summon, to constrain his hearers to the formation of a deeper, 
more vital conception of what life m£ans, what it ought to be. 
What it means, what it ought to be in the light of its meaning, 
is revealed not merely to reflection: rather is its reality dis- 
closed to the noble will. (A comparison between Fichte 's in- 
terpretation of life as the material of right and duty, with 
Schiller's interpretation as found in The Artist, Grace and 
Dignity, and Letters upon the Msthetic Education of Man, would 
form an interesting study.) 

6. For Goethe "man is most interesting to man and should 
perhaps be his only interest. All else that surrounds us is 
either the means of life or the instruments which we use. ' ' Goethe's 
one interest, his one problem, is that of human culture, the 
spiritual, educational possibilities of the human life of man in 
all its concrete intensity, richness, and variety. His writings 
are in a unique sense a fulfilment of Faust's aspiration to take 
upon himself the burden of our common humanity — "ihr Wohl 
und Weh auf meinen Busen hdufen, und so mein eigen Selbst zu 
ihrem Selbst erweitern." The great works, Faust, Wilhelm 
Meister, The Elective Affinities, are educational treatises in the 
widest sense, and are apprehended or truly discerned only when 
studied from the point of view of their spiritual significance, — 
or, as Spinoza might say, as treatises De Emendatione Intellectus. 
The work of Kant is an inquiry into the nature, the presuppo- 
sitions, the limits, of human experience. The work of Hegel is 
a study of the great forms of institutional life in which ex- 
perience has been organized in the historic evolution of the 
human spirit. The work of Goethe is an interpretation of the 

56 Educational Theories 

many-sidedness, the universality of human experience, — an at- 
tempt to "grasp the exhaustless life that all men live." 

In a study of Goethe's legacy of thought some of the more 
fructifying ideas may be enumerated as follows: (i) The con- 
ception of life as fundamentally and essentially personal, positive, 
and significant. (2) "Everything that man tindertakes to pro- 
duce, whether by action, word, or in whatsoever way, ought to 
spring from the union of all his faculties." (3) The consequent 
failure of mere knowledge to satisfy the deepest needs of the soul. 
(4) Life as involving an element of experiment, but the fail- 
ure of mere experience as such to satisfy the soul. (5) The 
fatalism of lawless passion originating in the conflict between 
elemental instinct and the moral law. (6) The conception of 
development through activity, opposition, struggle, aspiration. 
Life is essentially progressive. For Goethe the true merit of a 
life as of a work of art lies not so much in its regularity as in its 
power of expression. In man is the capacity of ever larger and 
larger life. (7) The idea of each individual mind as having 
within it a tendency to complete manifestation of itself. (8) 
The necessity of discovering the relation between capacity and 
activity. Self-development implies self -restriction. (9) The 
educational end within the life-aim or process. (10) The de- 
velopment of freedom through the appropriation of the principle 
embodied in the ideals imitated. (11) Self-forgetfulness as the 
result of fullest self -development and self -expansion. (12) Indi- 
vidual isolation, selfishness, agnosticism are self -destructive : 
reconciliation with reality is won by actual experience . and 
faithful work in the loving service of man. (13) The community 
of all life, the possibility of expiation and of moral recovery. 
(14) The purity and piety of the heart the road to spiritual in- 
sight. (15) 'The three Reverences' as a programme of edu- 
cation. (16) Das Ewig-weibliche zieht uns hinan. (17) The 
divine immanence in all nature and human life. 

In Goethe's theory of education (stated in briefest form) 
two distinct tendencies are apparent (i) concerning the indi- 
vidual as such, (2) concerning the individual as a member of 
society. His problem is how to secure adjustment to the 
collective life of humanity without interfering with the fullest 
perfection of the personality of the individual. As an indi- 

Herbart and Froebel 5 7 

vidual, man should unfold his innate capacities through aspira- 
tion, effort, struggle, and even failure, that he may attain to 
perfect culture, to the inner harmony of his own personal life. 
As a member of society he should take up into himself that 
education, common and universal, which embraces the type 
forms of human experience. Through self-expression and self- 
realization the individual should become an active organ of 
humanity, a conscious bearer of the social purpose. True edu- 
cation proceeds, therefore, through the fullest development of 
individual capacity and spontaneity in accordance with the 
general law embodied in nature and human institutions. Its 
task is to facilitate and to regulate the process of individual 
participation in the collective life of humanity. 

7. Richter (i 763-1825) was in many ways a typical repre- 
sentative of German life in the early nineteenth century. "In 
him," says Francke, "it seemed the ideal of an harmonious, 
all-embracing individuality — ^the main-spring of classic German 
literature, — had taken bodily form and come to walk among 
men." In the consideration of the two educational treatises, 
(i) Preparatory Course of Msthetic (1804), and Levana, or the 
Doctrine of Education (1807), note (i) the Romantic influence, 
(2) Richter 's conception of education as a liberation and realiza- 
tion of individuality — "the harmonious maximum of individual 
qualities taken together"; (3) as a social process; (4) his con- 
ception of the importance of early education, of the need of 
freedom and joyousness in children, of the educational signifi- 
cance of play; (5) the relation between his theory of play and 
the theories of Schiller and Froebel. 

8. In the work of Schleiermacher the educational influence 
and significance of the following factors should be considered 
(i) his conception of the sacredness of individual character of 
personality; (2) the religious basis of the moral law and of the 
spiritual order of society; (3) his doctrine of institutions as 
objective reason; (4) his reconciliation of self -development 
(increasing individualization) and self-surrender (increasing 
participation) to the common life and humanity; (5) re- 
ligion as the fundamental disposition governing the develop- 
ment and participation of the personal life. 

9. In Pestalozzi (1746-182 7) is found a remarkable instance 

58 Educational Theories 

of a life endowed with deep and far-seeing intuitions, and pene- 
trated with an tinceasing love of the people and an enthusiasm 
for their education and improvement. In his deeply religious 
nattire Pestalozzi reminds us of Comenius; in the intensity of 
his feeling and of his demand for freedom he resembles Rousseau ; 
while in his lofty integrity, his firm adherence to right and duty, 
he resembles the philosopher Kant. His life is one long record 
of sincere consecration to the cause of education as the only 
certain method of material elevation, and of moral and in- 
tellectual regeneration — a method by which a people can be 
helped to a more industrious, more satisfying, purer and more 
spiritual mode of life. Herein is Pestalozzi 's supreme claim to 
our remembrance, namely, that to him, perhaps, more than to 
any other man is due the movement towards popular education 
which was certainly one of the distinguishing marks of the past 
century. With his name there is usually united on the one 
hand the development of the method of sense-perception or of 
object teaching; on the other, the development of a psychological 
basis of instruction; but both of these seem secondary merits 
when compared with his deep and passionate insight into the 
social importance of the elevation of the people and the methods 
and suggestions which are owed to him for the realization of that 

(a) Certain dominant elements in his character should be 
noted: (i) an acute sensibility of nature, (2) an intense love of 
individual freedom, (3) a moral rigorism, a lofty idealism and 
optimism, (4) a deep humanitarianism, — an unselfish love of 
the poor and unfortunate among mankind. 

(b) In the study of Pestalozzi's life note especially: (i) His 
early experiences, and the social and industrial conditions in 
Zurich. (2) The revival of literature and the study of phi- 
losophy, the demand for greater simplicity of life and manners, 
the movement towards intellectual and political freedom. (3) 
The influence of Pestalozzi's teachers, especially Zimmerman, 
Bodmer, Breitinger, the influence of Rousseau, Fichte, and 
Kant. (4) His various philanthropic experiments, and his ex- 
perience in teaching. (5) The high, ethical purpose ever before 
his mind, from which he never turned aside, the moral and 
social elevation of the people. 

Herbart and Froebel 59 

(c) While all his writings have educational bearings, the 
following appear to be of special importance in studying the 
development of his doctrine and of its various elements in their 
mutual relations: (i) The Evening Hour of a Hermit (1780). 
This consists of a series of aphorisms — 180 in all — on general 
educational principles and on the rise of a people through edu- 
cation. In it is to be found the germ of Pestalozzi's educa- 
tional theory: (i) a criticism of the artificial methods of the 
schoolroom ; (ii) the right of the individual to education ; (iii) 
the development of the soul through inner culture; (iv) the 
necessity of grotinding education and the moral elevation of a 
people in a purer and more vital religious life. (2) Leonard 
and Gertrude, Vol. I (1781), Vol. II (1783), Vol. Ill (1785), Vol. 
IV (1787). A social romance which Pestalozzi regarded as his 
"first word to the heart of the poor and of the abandoned of 
the land." Its central theme is the physical, intellectual, and 
spiritual elevation of a people through work, through piety, and 
through education. The important ideas developed might be 
briefly stated thus: (i) an education of individuals suited to 
their station in life; (ii) the development of the latent powers 
of every individual and the inculcation of a piety of the heart ; 
(iii) the place of industries in elementary education; (iv) the 
social importance of education and the interrelation of home, 
school, church, and state in maintaining and elevating the 
social life. (3) Researches into the Course of Nature in the De- 
velopment of the Human Race (1797). In many respects a re- 
markable work, in which he seeks to justify the great importance 
which he attaches to nature in the education of man. Written 
at the suggestion of Fichte, it amounts to a study in the evolu- 
tion of man. He breaks away from the atomistic theory of 
Rousseau and attains to the idea of humanity as an organic 
unity. It is pervaded by a theory of morality, thoroughly 
Kantian in spirit. It suggests the subsequent attempt which 
has been made to base education upon the law of evolution. 
He distinguishes three levels in the development of man: the 
animal — ^the product of nature; the social — ^the product of the 
race or of social relationships; the moral — ^the product of man 
himself, consisting in the development of the higher elements 
of his nature implanted by the Creator in the human soul. 

6o Educational Theories 

(Compare Fichte's doctrine of the State as having to do with 
the external nature of man only.) In the volume two important 
conclusions are reached: (i) the parallelism between the evolu- 
tion of the race and the development of the individual ; (ii) the 
desirability of founding the laws for the education of the in- 
dividual on the laws of human evolution. (4) How Gertrude 
Teaches Her Children (1801). This work presents the history 
of Pestalozzi's methodology, as it may be called, or his views 
on the aims and methods of instruction. (5) The Song of the 
Swan (1826). My Destinies as Head of the Institutes at Ber- 
thoud and Yverdon (1826). To this should be added, Letters on 
Early Education, written to Greaves, an Englishman, between 
1818 and 1820. 

(d) In considering the social philosophy of Pestalozzi note: 
(i) The political and social character of the period. (2) The 
influence of Rousseau; points of resemblance and difference. 
(3) Pestalozzi's conception of the interdependence of human 
life. (4) Influence of Romanticism: the right of the individual 
to freer, more natural self-expression. (5) The actual content 
of Pestalozzi's social theory: (i) the relation of the individual to 
society; (ii) the three levels of human life, natural, social, 
moral ; (iii) the moral as above the social; (iv) the individual's 
recapitulation of the life of the race. (6) The inter-relation of 
the institutions that educate — home, church, government, 
school. (7) Relation between Pestalozzi's social theory and 
his theory of education. (The somewhat scattered materials of 
Pestalozzi's social philosophy and psychological theory have 
been gathered together and systematized by Rothenberger, 
Pestalozzi als Philosoph in Berner Studien zur Philosophic.) 

(e) In turning to the consideration of the more important 
elements in the educational theory of Pestalozzi it is first of all 
to be noted that, (i) while Rousseau had regarded education as 
a means whereby individuals might be saved from the cor- 
rupting and enslaving influences of civilization, Pestalozzi ever 
regarded it as a fimdamental means to raising human beings 
into an intelligent, social, and moral life. It is true that Pes- 
talozzi was strongly influenced by Rousseau, and attempted to 
carry out the Rousseau plan of unsocial education with his own 
child. He perceived the impossibility of the plan, yet he never 

Herbart and Froebel 6i 

completely got away from Rousseauism, retaining, as did Fichte, 
in the background of his consciousness the doctrine that human 
institutions were at best a somewhat mechanical or artificial 
appendage to the individual life. The doctrine that the in- 
stitutions of society constitute that system of life in which alone 
the individual a person was an insight of later writers 
in education. Pestalozzi, however, did not abandon the best 
element in Rousseau's teaching — ^the necessity of making the 
child and his circle of experience and activity the starting-point 
in instruction. (2) While Pestalozzi was never able to reach 
a satisfactory or logical account of the relation of the indi- 
vidual and society, nevertheless he saw clearly that the indi- 
vidual left to himself, or deprived of education, could never 
become truly human. It is necessary for society, in order to 
its own preservation, to transform the natural man into the 
social man. The education of the people thus becomes the 
highest social duty. (3) Education must be conceived funda- 
mentally as national education. All attempts at the culture 
of the intelligence and the elevation of the moral nature of the 
individual will be unavailing, which are not the outcome of the 
whole spirit and life of a people and which do not return to 
the people as their original possession. Pestalozzi not only 
recognized the social importance of education, but discerned the 
necessity of correlating the great forces of the community Hfe, 
the home, the school, the church, and the state, with a view to 
maintaining, elevating, and perpetuating the social life of the 
people. This idea of elaborating and elevating education into 
a social or national system constitutes one of Pestalozzi 's great 
claims to remembrance. (4) As an outcome of his contact with 
the life of the common people Pestalozzi discerned that the fun- 
damental source of their barren and unprogressive life was the 
lack of recognition on their part of the laws of nature and of life, 
and their consequent disorder and levity, the absence of moral 
and religious sentiment, the prejudice and revenges against the 
authorities who only too readily profited by their weaknesses. 
The source of their spiritual elevation he sought in education. 
But first of all he had to discover its sure and simple methods and 
materials. As a result of his inquiry Pestalozzi took as the 
ftindamental principle of his method, that education, if it is to 

62 Educational Theories 

fit man for his destination in life, must proceed in accordance 
with the laws of nature. In other words, experience and in- 
tuition led him to believe that education must not be any 
arbitrary intervention between the child and nature, between 
the individual and the laws of nature and humanity; rather 
must it assist the natural development of the individual, not 
hindering or doing violence to it; following, not forcing; de- 
veloping, not moulding in accordance with an artificial or me- 
chanical programme. (5) Pestalozzi thinks of the soul not as a 
mechanism but as an organism endowed with an impulse towards 
its own growth and realization. It is a unity of physical, in- 
tellectual, and spiritual powers, existing at first only in germ; 
and while dependent for its sustenance first of all on its sense- 
surroundings, yet not physically bound, but capable of raising 
itself above the level of sense and impulse to the plane of the 
intellectual and the spiritual, while still retaining the former 
as instruments of its purposes. Development, whether in child 
or man, is no mere effect of outside forces or of foreign -will be- 
yond the individual: it is rather the individual's inborn power 
of effort, later on flowering into free and autonomous will which 
stirs to feeling and to thought. With Kant, Pestalozzi regards 
the capacities of the soul as its immanent and constitutive 
essence. The common need of humanity is the growth and de- 
velopment of man himself. Nature has done her part : let man 
do his! Teaching, then, is nothing more than the art of helping 
the impulse, the striving of nature after its own development. 
But in true development there is harmony and proportion of 
parts, mutual adaptation and adjustment of elements. Edu- 
cation, indeed, should aim at "the harmonious and equable 
development of the human powers." Its work is being accom- 
plished in raising man's nature from the sensuous plane of 
merely physical existence to that level of life and happiness 
which is possible for him through the harmonious upbuilding 
of body, mind, and spirit; the powers of art, of mind, of heart 
united by an organic bond and cooperant to a common end. 
And the ultimate forces in this upbuilding of man's true nature, 
Pestalozzi declares, are love and faith; forces which together 
unify man's powers of knowing and acting, love proceeding 
from faith and both in turn from God, the Father of man's life, 

Herbart and Froebel 63 

necessary thereto as are the roots to the tree. (6) In recog- 
nizing the organic nature of the mental life Pestalozzi was led 
to emphasize the continuous character of mental development, 
and to make "continuity " a fundamental element in his method. 
For him the mental life was essentially a process of development 
or unfolding and only incidentally one of acquisition and posses- 
sion. Whilst seeking, therefore, to exercise and strengthen the 
capacities of the child by means of incitements to activity he 
endeavored to discover points of contact within the child's ex- 
perience, to proceed in uninterrupted course from one point to 
another, taking care that the first should be fixed in the mind 
before proceeding to the second. 

(/) The more important elements of permanent significance ^ 
in the work of Pestalozzi may be noted in outline: (i) The con- 
ception of education as a fundamental source of social elevation. 
(2) The conception of education as essentially national educa- ^ 
tion. (3) In a very real sense Pestalozzi became the creator of 
the modern elementary schools in that, while conceiving the 
educational aim to be "the development and education of 
humanity from its own center," he did not confine such de- 
velopment of the inner powers and capacities of human nature 
to particular classes of society, but maintained that the poor- 
est and lowliest should participate in its benefits. Pestalozzi 
recognized the rational organization of elementary education as 
a matter of primary importance. (4) His recognition of the 
central and ftindamental influence of the home life, and the 
necessity of correlation and cooperation of the various educa- 
tional factors of the community in the education of the indi- 
vidual. In connection with the recognition of the significance 
of the home life in education is Pestalozzi 's demand that a 
systematic development of the child's earliest consciousness 
should precede all real instruction. The mother is the child's 
first and best teacher. (5) His demand that instruction be y 
based on the immediate experience of the individual; that 
sense-perception be made the basis of all intellectual instruction ; 
that in the method of instruction all arbitrariness be eliminated, 
and a natural mode of procedure based on the principle of inner 
activity substituted in place of an artificial mechanical one — ^in 
a word, there should be naturalness of method in teaching and 

64 Educational Theories 

learning. (6) His attempt in the government of children to 
introduce the method based on interesting and developing 
activity, on thoughtful guidance, on a loving treatment of the 
pupil — since love is the essential form of all human learning — 
in place of one based on mere compulsion or merely mechanical 
discipline. (7) Pestalozzi restored to credit the processes of the 
method of sense-perception. For him, in elementary education 
sense-perception is the fimdamental principle of instruction, 
indeed, the absolute foundation of knowledge. Considered by 
itself it is nothing else than the mere presence of external 
objects to sense, and the mere stirring of the consciousness of 
their impression. In other words, Pestalozzi would make the 
sense-experience of the child the educational starting-point. 
Clear perception is the basis of clear thinking. The world lies 
before the child at first merely as a mass of confused impressions. 
In large measure it is the task of elementary instruction to 
bring definiteness out of chaos, to separate objects from one 
another, grouping the like, in order that clear conceptions 
may be formed. Out of the confused impressions, definite and 
clear perceptions may emerge, and on the basis of clear per- 
ceptions distinct ideas may gradually be built up. The de- 
velopment of the faculty of thought thus has its starting-point 
in grouping, separating, and comparing the objects of sense- 
perception. (8) It was ever Pestalozzi 's aim to discover a 
method of instruction by which the individual might attain an 
intelligent contact with the real world. This, he thought, must 
be brought about through a simplification of instruction. What, 
then, are the great rubrics of instruction? What are the con- 
necting links between the mind of the individual and the real 
world by which he is encompassed? " I long sought," he writes, 
"for a common psychological origin for all these arts of in- 
struction, because I was convinced that only through this might 
it be possible to discover the form in which the cultivation of 
mankind is determined through the very laws of nature itself. 
It is evident this form is founded on the general organization of 
the mind, by means of which our understanding binds together 
in imagination the impressions which are received by the senses 
from nature into a whole, that is, into an idea, and gradually 
unfolds this idea clearly. ... At last, suddenly, like a Deus 

Herbart and Froebel 65 

ex machina, came the thought — ^the means of making clear all 
knowledge gained by sense-impression comes from number, form, 
and language.'' These are, together, "the elementary means 
of instruction, because the whole sum of the external properties 
of any object is comprised in its outline and its number, and is 
brought home to consciousness through language.'' Number, 
form, and language, as typical materials, form the elementary 
means of instruction. These, therefore, number, form, and 
language, are made by Pestalozzi the fundamental subjects of 
elementary instruction, in that they are the essential conditions 
of distinct and definite knowledge. These should be taught 
with the utmost possible simplicity, comprehensiveness, mutual 
connection, and continuity. It is needless to say that the 
value of Pestalozzi's attempt to establish an alphabet of sense- 
perception lies in the originality of the endeavor rather than in 
positive achievement. (Compare this attempt of Pestalozzi to 
attain an alphabet of sense-perception with the theory under- 
lying the Gifts of Froebel, and the A B C of Sense-Perception of 


In addition to the works of the authors named in the text, the 
various histories and encyclopaedias (German) of education and 
the separate monographs of Buchner (Kant), Davidson {Rousseau), 
Luqueer {Hegel), Pinloche {Pestalozzi), see the works of Adamson, 
Bonar, Bosanquet, Caird, Erdmann, Falckenberg, Francke, Hoff- 
ding, Jodl, Paulsen, Pfleiderer, Robertson, Royce, Scherer, Seth, 
Thomas (Introduction to his edition of Goethe's Faust), Wallace, 
Windelband, Wimdt, to which reference has been made in preced- 
ing chapters: also, Schleiermacher, Die Gute Lehens Art; On Re- 
ligion (Oman) ; Fichte, Popular Works: The Nature of the Scholar. 
The Vocation of Man, The Doctrine of Religion (Smith); Hegel, 
Philosophy of Right (Dyde). 

Further problems for study : 

1. The individual and his relation to society as reflected in the 

work of (i) Kant, (2) Fichte, (3) Goethe, (4) Pestalozzi, 
(5) Schleiermacher, (6) Hegel. 

2. The background of (i) political theory, (2) economic theory, 

(3) religious doctrine during this period. 

3. Education as world-building. 

4. The significance for a philosophy of education of Kant's 

problem concerning the possibility of experience. 

66 Educational Theories 

5. The significance of Epistemology for educational method- 

i. 6. Education and teleology. 

7. The condition of German Schools from 17 50-1 800. 

8. Motives underlying the Elementary School. 

9. The historical conception of industrial education. 

10. The concept of civilization. 

11. "Rousseau took no step forward in education." — ^Davidson. 

12. Pestalozzi's educational experiments. 


I (a) Among the philosophic opponents of the Idealistic 
philosophy developed by Fichte, Schelling, and Hegel, the more 
important are Beneke, Herbart, and Schopenhauer. The op- 
position of Beneke was directed chiefly against the method of 
the Idealists. Herbart, starting with experience, ranged himself 
against the ontological position of Idealism, denying that it is 
possible to deduce ever3rthing from a single principle, and op- 
posing its monism with a pluralistic metaphysics, and its phi- 
losophy of becoming with, a philosophy of being. Reality is an 
indefinite multitude of irreducibly different entities. Schopen- 
hauer, in turn, opposed the Idealistic estimate of the worth of 
life, denying rationality both to the world and to the world- 
ground. All considered themselves true disciples of Kant. 
From the point of view of exact scientific method Herbart is 
•undoubtedly the most important name among the opponents 
of Idealism. He claimed that his system was more in harmony 
with the spirit of Kant than were the systems of the Idealists. 
He used to describe himself as a " Kantian of the year of 1828." 
However this may be, it is not a difficult matter to recognize 
that, even though Herbart appropriated a determinable element 
of the Kantian system, nevertheless he introduced in it a foreign 
element through the influence of which the Kantian element 
was modified in several fimdamental respects. 

(b) Herbart (1776-1841) before entering the University of 
Jena in 1794 had already gained some acquaintance with the 
systems of Wolff and Kant. In the university he came to 

Herbart and Froebel 67 

know Schiller and Fichte. • Two years after entering he handed 
to Fichte, his teacher in philosophy and the follower of Kant, a 
critique of two of Schelling's treatises, in which it was clearly 
shown that he had already broken with Idealism. His first 
meeting with Pestalozzi was in 1797. At first connected with 
Gottingen, Herbart became professor in Konigsberg in 1809, 
where in 18 10 he established and conducted a seminary in edu- 
cation until 1833. From 1833 till his death in 1841 he was 
professor of philosophy in Gottingen. 

(c) Rejecting an idealistic metaphysics with its philosophy 
of becoming, Herbart accepts a pluralistic metaphysics and a 
philosophy of being. For him, as for the Eleatios, being is 
absolutely simple. In his reaction against the Idealism of 
Hegel he adopts a position which is practically a union of the 
Eleatic and Atomistic points of view — of Parmenides and 
Democritus. Analysis of what is given in experience forced him 
to believe that we must rest content by positing many simple 
existences. Reals — ^the ultimate ground of things. Such a Real 
was God, such the soul, such the elements of matter. He holds 
that appearance is not an essential quality of being; indeed, 
being and appearance are quite different in essence. The true 
reality does not become, does not change, is neither increased 
nor decreased. In the manifold of Reals, each particular Real 
is independent of all others. We can know nothing at all of 
the proper nature of Reals, hence we cannot know whether they 
are material or spiritual. Herbart 's system is in a way a 
mechanical monadology. To Leibnitz he owed the idea of the 
soul as a monad, but allowed to it simply existence, whereas 
Leibnitz (with Kant and Hegel) laid stress on activity, unity, 
synthesis. On the one hand, Herbart declares that "being is 
absolute position; its concept excludes all negation and all 
relation," and "the soul is a simple substance not only without 
parts, but with no plurality whatever in its quality." On the 
other hand, the monad or Real has the power of self -conserva- 
tion though not of self-realization. This quality of the Reals 
is more evident in those beings to which we attribute force and 
life, and which rise to consciousness in our inner experience as 
sensations. Indeed, Herbart admits that the only example of 
self -conservation accessible to us is that of our own sensations. 

68 Educational Theories 

Thus, after all, he, in his way, conceives the Reals in analogy 
with our own psychical states. The following difficulties are 
retained by Herbart in his metaphysics: (i) the dualism of 
appearance and reality, (2) the denial of change to the Reals. 
According to Herbart every continuum is excluded from reality. 
If he insists on the independence of the Reals, their communion 
remains unaccountable. 

(d) Herbart 's psychology is of the association type according 
to which neither the content nor the form of knowledge is 
furnished by the mind. The problem of the self presented 
itself to him first of all in connection with Fichte's Ego, which 
is conceived in unceasing self -activity. The soul is a Real like 
other Reals; its sensations and ideas are expressions of its 
self-preservation. It is an error to look upon it as an aggregate 
of all sorts of faculties. There exists neither feeUng, nor know- 
ledge, nor willing, as faculties or as innate forces or energies. 
There is but one source of mental life, the presentation or sensa- 
tion which arises in the soul when it has to maintain itself against 
another soul. At first, merely blank, formal unity of which 
nothing can be said excepting that it can act in self-defence; 
the soul shows its character by what it does in the struggle for 
existence. Its peculiar mode of self-defence is a sensation or 
presentation. It admits presentations to its domain. Ad- 
mission proves to be occupation. Its former assailants are, so 
to speak, naturalized as ideas. Henceforth the varying mental 
contents contend for supremacy, uninfluenced and unhindered 
by the soul. Presentations are thus the ultimate elements of 
the mental life, whose subsequent unity and complexity are to be 
explained through the mechanical interaction and combination 
of the primary elements. The development of the mental life 
consists in the increasing conflicts and harmonies among its 
constituent units: some of which blend together by means of 
assimilations; others again unite in groups by means of com- 
plications; while others remain at variance among themselves; 
the resulting whole constituting the ego or self. 

{e) The necessity for assuming a psychical Real lies in the 
fact that our ideas are always reciprocally related and interact 
one with the other. It is a rather curious phenomenon that Her- 
bart should not have developed more fully the implications of 

Herb art and Froehet 69 

his doctrine that there is no unconnected manifold in con- 
sciousness. There is, he maintains, a continuous tendency 
among the ideas to form one single activity, until by assimilation 
and complication there arises a total force which we designate 
the ego or self, a product rather than a principle, and which 
determines the nature of subsequent assimilations. Only that 
which is capable of blending with the prevailing group of ideas 
('apperception') can attain to psychical existence. The apper- 
ceiving group of ideas determines the nature of the personality. 
Thus for Herbart the 'self is a composite; consciousness is 
not the condition but rather the resultant of ideas which are 
primarily forces. '-'The Ego is a result of presentations which 
unite and interpenetrate one another in a single substance (the 
soul)." Just here there seems to be a conflict between Her- 
bart 's psychology and his metaphysics. If the unity of con- 
sciousness can be explained by the reciprocal action of the 
elements, the metaphysical explanation of the unity by a soul- 
substance is superfluous: if, on the contrary, he starts with a 
soul-substance he cannot look upon the unity merely as a pro- 
duct. First we have inactivity among the 'Reals'; then 
collisions or attacks, against which souls or Reals react. These 
'reactions' are presentations. The intellect is simply the sum 
of these and their combinations conceived in their totality. 
Feeling arises through the partial suppression of one presenta- 
tion or idea. Desire arises in the successful struggle of pre- 
sentations or ideas against others which tend to suppress them. 
Desire issues in will when it is accompanied by the belief that 
the object is attainable. According to Herbart, therefore, we 
are to think of the mind not as an organism but as a mechanism. 
(/) Herbart appears to hold that every idea is a distinct 
entity (originating, it is true, as has been seen, as a reaction of 
the soul to stimuli, and therefore representing a certain qualita- 
tive form of the soul itself). His theory is an extreme form of 
psychological atomism. He does not recognize, however, that 
if the essence of conscious life is a synthesis or combining ac- 
tivity, the particular elements can possess no independent 
energy. He returns, in a sense, to a type of faculty psychology. 
When once produced, the idea is an existence by itself, possessed 
of its own dynamic force, striving to come before consciousness; 

70 Educational Theories 

striving, indeed, to attain the summit of consciousness. It is 
the same idea whether in or beneath consciousness. Various 
ideas, of course, help or hinder one another in attaining and re- 
taining the field of consciousness. A presentation or idea com- 
ing into consciousness tends to draw those allied to it also into 
consciousness and to force out those tmlike. Ideas which are 
similar, congruent, assist one another, and vice versa. It will 
thus be recognized that the essential point in the control of ex- 
perience (i.e., in education) will be to get the right grouping of 
like ideas, to form strong associations among the important 
ideas so that they will always reinforce one another. This 
seems to be the fimdamental explanation of the Herbartian 
emphasis upon correlation and concentration. 

2 (a) Education as a science is based, according to Herbart, 
on ethics and psychology. The former points out the goal of 
education; it sets the problem; the latter the way, the means, 
and the obstacles to the solution of the problem. This rela- 
tionship involves the dependence of education on experience 
inasmuch as ethics includes application to experience, while 
psychology has its starting-point, not in metaphysics alone, but 
in experience correctly interpreted by metaphysics. 

(6) The aim of education is morality or virtue: its means is 
educative instruction. "Virtue is the whole of the educational 
purpose." Inner freedom is the complete harmony of willing 
and moral insight. The ''good will," — ^the most important 
characteristic of Herbart 's conception of morality (compare 
Kant), — ^"is the steady resolution of a man to consider himself 
as an individual under the law which is universally binding." 

(c) "The ultimate purpose of instruction is contained in the 
notion, virtue, morality. But in order to realize the final aim, 
another and nearer one must be set up. We may term it many- 
sidedness of interest. The word 'interest' stands in general 
for that kind of mental activity which it is the business of in- 
struction to incite. Mere information does not suffice; for this 
we think of as a supply or store of facts, which a person might 
possess or lack, and still remain the same being. But he who 
lays hold of his information, and reaches out for more takes an 
interest in it." — Outlines of Educational Doctrine, p. 44. (See 
also, Science of Education, p. 62.) 

Herbart and Froebel 7 1 

3 To Pestalozzi Herbart owed, in part, the doctrine of interest, 
but he elaborated and transformed it. He maintains that Pes- 
talozzi 's service to education lay in his recognition of the need 
of creating in the child a definite and clearly observed experi- 
ence ; that we should not act as though the child had a body of 
experience, but see to it that he get one. In the doctrine of 
interest put forward by Herbart and its emphasis on the claims 
of the individual, traces may be found of the influence of Rous- 
seau working through the ideas of Pestalozzi. 

(a) According to Herbart, "ideas spring from two main 
sources, — experience and social intercourse. Knowledge of 
nature — incomplete and crude — is derived from the former ; the 
latter furnishes the sentiments entertained towards our fellow- 
men, which, far from being praiseworthy, are on the contrary 
often very reprehensible. To improve these is the more urgent 
task; but neither ought we to neglect the knowledge of nature." 
Ideas gained from experience and social intercourse constitute 
the child's circle of thought, which is to be so formed by instruc- 
tion that right judgment and right willing may grow out of it. 
"Man's worth does not, it is true, lie in his knowing, but in his 
willing. But there is no such thing as an independent faculty 
of will. Volition has its roots in thought; not, indeed, in the 
details one knows, but certainly in the combination and total 
effect of the acquired ideas." — Outlines of Educational Doctrine, 
p. 40. 

(6) The aim of instruction is "so to form the pupil's circle of 
thought that right judgment and right willing may grow out of 
it." Its specific object is to stimulate and develop many-sided 
interests. The procedure of instruction with reference to the 
circle of thought of the pupil is either (i) analytic or (2) synthetic. 

(c) The circle of thought gained from (i) experience, (2) 
intercourse, lends itself to the development of two main forms 
of interest, (i) of cognition, (2) of participation. With refer- 
ence to the circle of thought educative instruction develops as 
(i) interests of cognition, the spirit of observation (empirical), of 
speculation (scientific), of taste (aesthetic); as (2) interests of 
participation, i.e., love and feeling of dependence upon others, 
sympathetic participation (sympathetic), pubHc spirit (social), 
religiousness (religious). 

72 Educational Theories 

(d) Interest as the specific object of instruction has four 
quaHties. It is (i) far-reaching or continuous, (2) immediate, 
i.e., it must be its own reward. The activity of true interest 
must arise from a disinterested devotion to the subject in hand. 
(3) Many-sided. "Interest arises from interesting objects; 
many-sided interests originate in the wealth of these, and to 
create and develop it is the task of instruction." — Science of 
Education, -p. 120. (4) Proportionate. There should be balance 
among the various classes of interest. 

(e) Methodical instruction involves (i) clearness, — ^in pre- 
sentation of specific facts, or the elements to be learned; (2) 
association, — of these facts with one another and with other 
related facts, formerly acquired, in order that assimilation and 
apperception may be as complete as possible; (3) system, — ^the 
coherent ordering of what is associated; (4) method, — ^the ap- 
plication in exercises, involving the activity of the pupil, of the 
facts, rules, principles, and classification so obtained. 

(/) For Herbart, as has been noted, experience and inter- 
course are the two constant teachers of men. These are the two 
original sources of the mental life. The ideas gained from these 
two sources must form the apperceptive basis of the instruction 
process in the school. Starting, then, with this apperceptive 
basis, presentative instruction takes two main lines: (i) the 
natural-scientific, including geography, mathematics, and natural 
history, serve to supplement almost exclusively the experience 
of the pupil and hence supply the sources of interests of know- 
ledge or cognition; (2) the historical, including history, literature, 
language, and art, serve to supplement both the pupil's ex- 
perience and intercourse with others, and supply the sources of 
the interests of participation or association with others. 

4 (a) Herbart, as was noted above, denied that the mind is 
possessed of certain innate powers or activities, (i) The doc- 
trine of faculties has its origin in the tendency to treat what 
were merely the prominent classes of mental states as real 
forces or activities producing particular effects. (2) Nor can 
we accept the Kantian notion of the Ego or Self as a synthetic 
activity formative in the upbuilding of the experience-process. 

(b) Presentations or ideas within the mind disturb and in- 
hibit one another, and the entire psychical life is to be explained 

Herbart and Froebel 73 

as a reciprocal tension of ideas. This fact of tension causes 
ideas to lose in intensity, and those of lower degree of strength 
tend to be forced below the threshold of consciousness. Al- 
though an idea displaced by another of superior strength fades 
or sinks below the threshold of consciousness, it does not by 
any means disappear from the soul, but may presently rise 
again to clear and distinct consciousness. Every idea persists 
in the soul: its displacement in consciousness by another does 
not annihilate it: it but renders it latent. 

(c) Herbart lays a particular stress upon the nature of the 
process by which newly entering presentations or ideas are 
"assimilated, ordered, formed, and in part altered" by the 
ideas already present in the mind. The importance of his work 
in this connection should be fully recognized. He makes use of 
the term 'Apperception' to designate the general process by 
which individual perceptions, ideas or complexes of ideas, are 
brought into relation to our previously existing system of 
ideas, and, assimilating with them, are raised to greater clear- 
ness and distinctness. This is a central thought in the system 
of Herbart, from which he proceeds and to which he continually 
returns. In his philosophical explanation he took as his start- 
ing-point certain thoughts of Leibnitz, while in its educational 
interpretation he was imdoubtedly influenced by Pestalozzi. 

(d) For Herbart, then, it is possible to explain mental de- 
velopment by means of the one comprehensive process of Apper- 
ception. By it he seems to understand the interaction of two 
analogous presentations or ideas or groups of either, in such a 
way that the one is more or less transformed or reconstructed 
by the other, and ultimately fused with it. The process, there- 
fore, is one (i) of assimilation, in which the new is fused and 
incorporated with the old; (2) of reconstruction, through 
which previously existing ideas are raised to greater clearness 
and distinctness, and thus to a higher degree of consciousness. 

(e) Apperception as the essential process in mental develop- 
ment becomes, therefore, for the Herbartian, the essential basis 
of educational method. Without asking the question for the 
present whether Apperception is a complete explanation of 
mental development, it may at least be admitted (i) that our 
knowledge, whether as identification, comparison, or subsimip- 

74 Educational Theories 

tion, is a process of associating the new with the old; (2) that 
in the interaction of the new and the old in the knowledge 
process, the new is assimilated according to the individual's 
previously existing system of ideas, and the old transformed 
or reconstructed in the light of the new; (3) that, in order to 
the control of experience through instruction (i) all new knowl- 
edge must be the development and reconstruction of previous 
knowledge, (ii) on a level with the pupil's experience, neither 
too new nor too strange, (iii) the presented material must be 
given in organized groups or series. 

5. (a) It would seem to be fair to summarize Herbart's contri- 
bution to educational theory under the following headings: 
(i) His contention that both nature and mind are characterized 
by conformity to law. (2) His statement of the educational 
foundations, psychology, and ethics. (3) His insistence on 
morality, or virtue, as the aim of education and upon the con- 
nection between intellectual and moral development. (4) His 
reconstruction of the doctrine of Apperception as a fimdamental 
principle in educative instruction. (5) His conception of interest 
as a factor in instruction. (6) His analysis of the formal steps 
in the instruction-process. It is not, of course, asserted that 
Herbart in any one of these lines was wholly original, but the 
definiteness with which he stated the problems and indicated 
their interrelations has forced upon subsequent writers in educa- 
tional theory a consciousness of the need of their still clearer 
definition and fuller reconstruction. 

(6) Over against the doctrine of Pluralism as held by Her- 
bart we may, for purposes of comparison, set in outline the 
general position of Idealism against which Herbart strenuously 
contended. Idealism, it may be said, maintains: (i) Each 
finite thing or being is part of a larger system. (2) Each finite 
thing or being is a positive self-affirming unity, possessing its 
own pecuHar life and activity. (3) The impulse or endeavor of 
each finite thing or being (an expression of the Absolute in a 
definite and determinate way) to maintain itself in existence, to 
realize itself according to its own peculiar life and activity, is 
the actual essence of the thing or being. (4) In all things and 
beings this general principle of expression, manifestation, or real- 

Herbart and Froehel 75 

ization is the same — but with the human being it is the same 
with a difference. For man becomes conscious of his self-realizing 
impulse. Thus the Hfe open to him is indefinitely richer in con- 
tent than that bestowed on any other creature — ^the Hfe of 
intelHgence, of social relationships, of reUgion. If Herbart had 
recognized the significance or the implications of certain of his 
own admissions, (i) that we cannot but conceive the Reals in 
analogy with our own inner states, (2) that there is no uncon- 
nected manifold in consciousness, his Realism would doubtless 
have been considerably more in harmony with Idealism than 
it is. 

{c) Herbart contends that the science of the reality of 
things (metaphysic) must be kept entirely apart from the science 
of the estimation of worth {(Esthetic). There is, he maintains 
against the Idealists, no principle of knowledge which can unite 
in itself the explanation of reality and the proof of worth. Meta- 
physics ends with the assumption of Reals existing out of all 
relations: Esthetics {i.e., the science of the estimation of worth, 
aesthetic or ethical) is concerned not with realities, but with 
relations between realities. It will, therefore, be recognized 
that Herbart fails to establish any organic or fundamental 
connection between his metaphysics and psychology on the one 
side and his ethics, dealing with relations of worth among 
volitions, on the other; between what is and what ought to be. 
His ethics, being fundamentally aesthetic in character, however 
much they may be said to center about the will and activity of 
an agent, do not have their ultimate foundation in the will nor 
in the concept of an end or ideal which ought to be striven for. 
He does not, in other words, with his disciple Lotze, find in what 
ought to be the basis of that which is. Herbart 's ethics and 
theology are united in a manner quite as external as are those 
of Kant. 

{d) It must be acknowledged, moreover, that Herbart 's ac- 
count of the formal simplicity of the soul's nature presents a 
rather serious menace to the acceptance of his psychology as a 
basis of educational method. In his account of the nature of 
the soul he, apparently, at first abandons entirely the thought 
of activity. It is, to begin with, alien to all relations and needs 
them not, — does not need, indeed, to maintain itself against 

76 Educational Theories 

them. In the exigencies of explanation Herbart endows the 
soul with a kind of activity, that of acting in self-defence. 
Just here, it may be asked, does not he unconsciously assume 
what he had to begin with consciously rejected, namely, self- 
activity ? 

The soul, endowed with the power of self -conservation, 
reacts and incorporates the antithetical " reals" as presenta- 
tions. But by introducing into the soul the power of self- 
maintenance against opposing "reals" Herbart is confronted 
with a dilemma: (i) either there is mere antagonism which 
would lead to nothing — ^not even presentation, or (2) the soul 
and that by which it is confronted are positive elements in a 
larger life or process from which the soul draws (under the 
guidance of an indwelling unity) an outside element which it 
responds to, assimilates, and thus makes instrumental in its 
own development. By denying to the soul a synthetic prin- 
ciple, or neglecting the significance of the union of elements 
within consciousness, Herbart, it would appear, either fails to 
explain, or explains away, individuality. 

But for Herbart the soul's power of self -conservation is at 
best an endowment of only short duration. If the soul was 
ever active in its assertion against the stimuli which came from 
without, it never was active but once. As Lotze, Herbart's 
most distinguished disciple, remarks, "Everything further that 
happens in it, the formation of its conceptions, the development 
of the various faculties, the settlement of the principles on 
which it acts, are all mechanical results which, when once these 
primary self-preservations have been aroused, follow from their 
own reactions; and the soul, the arena on which all this takes 
place, never shows itself volcanic and irritable enough to inter- 
fere by new reactions with the play of its states and to give 
them such new directions as do not follow analytically from 
them according to the universal laws of their reciprocal actions." 

(e) Into Herbart's accoimt of interest and attention, more- 
over, grave inconsistencies seem to enter, even though it be 
freely admitted that from the point of view of educational 
theory it has a considerable amoimt of suggestion. If we abide 
by psychology as an educational foundation, it is necessary to 
have a certain consistency between the foundation and the super- 

Herbart and Froebel 77 

structure. If we should abide by Herbart's psychology, interest 
and attention would be the result of certain combinations of 
ideas — ^purely reflex things: e.g., the sentence, "I am attentive 
to something" would mean that the idea of this something rises 
into consciousness by its own strength. In his educational 
theory, however, Herbart comes to speak of both attention and 
interest as forms of self -activity. How, it may be asked, if the 
idea be primary and self-existent as at first decided, can we 
say that attention and interest are forms of self -activity ? In 
the one case it is the mere product of the action and reaction of 
ideas ; in the other it is psychical, or self -activity. 

(/) There have been three important historical conceptions 
in psychology: (i) the conception of the inner life as the ex- 
pression or manifestation of a number of distinct faculties or 
powers with which the subject is endowed; (2) the conception 
of which the Herbartian and the English Associationist doc- 
trines are typical; (3) the conception which represents the 
mental life as a development, the varying forms of which are 
to be represented as stages of the development itself. Instead 
of giving a categorical denial to the Herbartian theory of interest 
and attention as mere products of the action and reaction of 
ideas, it may be well to place over against the Herbartian 
psychology an outline of a psychology of a different type which 
seems to afford a more secure foundation for both interest and 
attention, and, on the whole, one more conformable to the facts 
of experience. The outline, sufficient for our present purpose, 
may be given as follows: (i) The mental life presents itself as a 
teleological system or process, a series of means and ends, the 
outcome of a continuous co-ordination or functioning of two 
elements, self and environment, the unity of which is found in 
the general process of control over the conditions of life. The 
self is a concrete, specific activity, constantly directed to the 
accomplishment of something, — ^not only the bearer of the ex- 
perience process, but an efficient agent in its furtherance. The 
self is real only in so far as it continues to act, to become, to 
progress. (2) The fundamental and central element of the 
psychical life is not sensation or idea, but activity. From this 
point of view all phases of psychical activity may be grouped 
about two fundamental types — Habits and Accommodations. (3) 

78 Educational Theories 

Ideas are not (as Herbart would appear to hold) things which 
stand apart from the subject, in mechanical juxtaposition to 
the self, but are instrumental in the furtherance of the life- 
process. They are (i) methods of registering past experiences, 
and (ii) plans of action, leading to the organization of future 
experience. Knowledge is teleological, functional. Sensations 
and ideas are instrumental. Herbart 's atomic theory of ideas 
(as, ultimately, his theory of the individual self) is analogous 
to the political and social theories of Rousseau. 

(g) If the third conception of mental life, outlined in the 
preceding section, be the one more conformable to the facts of 
experience, it would seem that interest and attention have their 
foundation not in the action and reaction of ideas, but in the 
adjustments and accomodations of the self in the process of its 
realization. They are functions of the active subject, — a sub- 
ject whose very essence lies in its activity, its manifestation, its 
self-expression. It is in connection with the realization of ends 
that the phenomenon of interest manifests itself. In it are 
discovered (i) a cognitive, (2) a dynamic or impulsive aspect, 
and (3) an inner or subjective feeling of the worth of the end 
to which the attention is directed. Interest is the emotional or 
subjective value which accompanies the self's identification with 
an end or object deemed necessary to its realization or ex- 
pression. (For a discussion of the psychology of interest, see 
articles by Professor Dewey and Dr. Harris noted in bibliography 
of this section.) 

Qi) May it not be contended that, if Herbart 's account of 
the totally indifferent nature of the soul be correct, it is possible 
for the educator to make out of it what he desires ? His psy- 
chology is rather the psychology of the ' learning ' process than 
of a human being. If it were strictly true that knowledge is 
primary, Herbart 's theory of virtue or morality becomes simply 
the Socratic doctrine that knowledge is virtue, stated in terms 
of a mechanical psychology. To control the individual's action 
it would only be necessary to furnish the right presentation, and 
through correlation reinforce this one by allied and congruous 
ideas in such a way that the focus of consciousness could be 
maintained by the allied idea-forces. Teaching would thus 
become a mere matter of idea-instilling, and psychological in- 

Herbart and Froebel 79 

quiry a search for the mechanism of the process. Through 
presentation determine mental content; through mental con- 
tent determine desire; through desire determine activity. 
The monad soul is at first practically at the mercy of the ex- 
ternal world. By multiplying the individual's ideas in the 
right way you are determining what his desires and motives 
shall be, and thus his conduct. "I confess," Herbart says, 
"to have no conception of education without instruction.'* 
From what precedes, namely, (i) the dependence of will on 
ideas, (2) ideas as distinct entities possessing various degrees of 
force, (3) similar and congruous ideas tending to form alliances 
among themselves, it will be recognized how necessary for a 
theory of instruction based upon a psychology of this intel- 
lectualistic type is (i) the control of ideas, through orderly 
presentation (apperception), and through reinforcement (corre- 
lation), (2) the enrichment of the circle of thought through 
concentration on ethical ideas, and through amplification of the 
educative materials. 

Throughout his account of the mental life, Herbart seems to 
over-emphasize the intellectual aspect, and to under-estimate 
the significance of activity, feeling, purpose, and habit, and 
the natural correlating power of the mind based on its original 
instinctive and impulsive equipment. The doctrine of Pre- 
sentationism has its foundations in a dualistic theory of know- 
ledge (see account of Kant's theory of knowledge. Chap. Ill, 
sec. 5; also Chap. VI, sec. 4.) It undervalues, moreover, the 
significance of direct, personal experience, and knowledge gained 
through the exercise of the constructive activities on the part of 
the learner. 


In addition to Herbart's works, see Bibliographies in Herbart 
Year Books, in Report of the Commissioner of Education, 1892-93, 
p. 393; in Rein's Outlines of Pedagogics (Van Liew), various 
articles in Neue Bahnen, and in Padagogium; also, Histories of 
Philosophy of Windelband, Hoffding, Ueberweg, and Falckenberg; 
De Garmo, Herbart and the Herbartians; Dewey, Interest as Re- 
lated to Will (Second Supplement to the Herbart Year Book, 1895); 
Harris, Herbart's Doctrine of Interest, in Educational Review, June, 
1895; Ribot, German Psychology of To-Day, pp. 24-49; Stout, 
Herbart's Psychology, in Mind, Vol. XIII; Tompkins, Herbart's 
Philosophy and Educational Theory, in Educational Review, Octo- 
ber, 1898; Ward, Herbart in Encyclopasdia Britanmca. 

8o Educational Theories 

Further problems for study: 

1. Herbart's relation to (i) Kant, (ii) Fichte, (iii) Pestalozzi. 

2. The bearings of the Intellectualistic and Voluntaristic psy- 

chologies on educational theory. 

3. The relation of interest and purpose to apperception. 

4. Herbart's doctrine of Interest. 

5. How far is the Culture Epoch theory consistent with Her- 

bart's view of the nature of the soul? 

6. Comparison of Hegel's and Herbart's views of mind. 

7. The influence of Herbart's 'Pluralism' on his psychological- 

ethical, and educational theories. 

8. The individual and the social in Herbart's ethics. 

9. The relation between Herbart's A B C of Sense-Perception 

and Froebel's theory of the Gifts. 


I. While Froebel (i 782-1852) never succeeded in giving to 
his thought the rounded completeness of scientific system which 
characterized the work of Herbart, nevertheless his educational 
theories presuppose a more or less definite philosophical creed, 
the dominant ideas of which were the common property of the 
romantic-idealistic movement to which he belonged. It is 
therefore necessary, first of all, to indicate the more important 
philosophic foundations of his educational doctrines : 

(a) The conception of Reality, or the world, as an organic 
unity. — Throughout his work Froebel conceives of the manifold 
of existence as a single process. His position may be character- 
ized as a humanized Idealism, or a spiritualized Naturalism, — 
Reality, conceived as a movement of Absolute Life. With 
Schleiermacher, it is true, he tends to regard the religious con- 
viction of the unity of things as the final guarantee of the truth 
postulated by philosophy. To any system of atomism which 
regards a unity or whole as a mere aggregate of its independent 
parts the thought of Froebel is absolutely opposed. The imi- 
verse in spite of its multiplicity is one. By itself the world is 
plurality : at best an aggregate : it is the totality of being, con- 
ceived in its differentiation. But it is a universe or cosmos be- 
cause it has its being in a spiritual principle, in God. Reality 
is thus for Froebel an organic unity; a unity, i.e., whose differ- 

Herbart and Froebel 8i 

ences are its own determinations. Because of their origin in a 
common world-ground, all things constitute a living unity; a 
unity, nevertheless, in which each thing is also an individual, 
distinct from all others. Accordingly, every element or member 
of any unity, natural or human, must be evidenced in a twofold 
way: from the side of its independence, self-sufficiency, and 
exclusiveness, as well as from the side of its dependence upon 
the larger whole of which it forms a part. 

(b) The corollary of the first, namely, development. — ^The two 
ideas reciprocally supplement each other. Into Froebel's con- 
ception of organic imity enters the thought of manifold ele- 
ments, individual existences, and activities. To admit such 
differentiation within unity, implies a dynamic, not a static, 
view of reality. The reality of the world implies the continu- 
ous self-determination of a spiritual principle, and this very 
self-determination involves the process whereby the world is 
maintained as an organic whole. By development Froebel 
understands the tendency of any unity, absolute or finite, to 
differentiate itself into a manifold while still retaining its unity. 
This process is found in the plant, in the animal, in the indi- 
vidual and society. Through this process of development the 
one passes into a manifold : in differentiating itself it individual- 
izes and also realizes itself. 

(c) The principle of activity. — The end or purpose of each 
individual life is to realize itself as an element of the larger 
system to which it belongs, ultimately of the larger organism 
of Reality. For man, the end is to come into harmonious re- 
lation with nature and humanity, and with God, the immanent 
life of both. This can be attained by him only through the 
exercise of his own activity or power of self-determination 
What the self is to be, it must become for itself. 

[For a fuller account of these principles as interpreted by Froe- 
bel, see Teachers College Record, November, 1903, pp. 16-36. For 
materials concerning the development of Froebel 's thought and 
its relation to the philosophical and ethical tendencies in the 
Germany of his day, see translations by Michaelis and Moore of 
the Autobiography of Friedrich Froebel, of Froebel' s Letters, and of 
Froebel' s Letter to Krause; various papers translated in Barnard, 
Child Study Papers (articles by Fichte, Lange, and others) ; Blow, 

82 Educational Theories 

Introduction to Mottoes and Commentaries of Froebel's Mother Play, 
Hanschmann, Friedrich Froehel (translated under the title, 'The 
Kindergarten System,' by Franks), also, Pddagogische Stromungen: 
Eine Wiirdigung Pestalozzis, Frobels, Zillers; Harris, Introdtic- 
tions to translations of Froebel's works; Von Marenholtz-Bulow, 
Reminiscences of Froehel; Articles in Erziehung der Gegenwart; 
Diesterweg's Jahrbuch; Rheinische Blatter fur Erziehung und Un- 
terrichts; Kindergarten; Pddagogium (articles by Dittes and Morf) : 
Encyclopaedias of Pedagogy (with bibliographical references) of 
K. A. Schmid, Karl Schmidt, Sander, Rein, and Lindner; Seidel, 
Introductions to his edition of Froebel's works; Steglich, Ueber die 
pddagogische Idee Friedrich Froebels in ihrer philosophischen Be- 
grUndung durch Frohschammer. 

For the work of Krause (i 781-1832) Froebel seems to have had 
most liking, and from him it would appear borrowed a consider- 
able amount of his technical phraseology. Krause sought to im- 
prove upon the pantheism of the system of Identity through his 
doctrine of Panentheism — a philosophy founded on the notion 
that all things are in God. Concerning the relation between 
Krause and Froebel, see especially Krause, Das Urbild der 
Menschheit, also, Tagblatt des Menschheitslebens; also, Eucken, Zur 
Erinnerung an Krause; Hohlfeld, Ueber Krause und Froebel; 
Schliephake, Ueber Friedrich Froebels Erziehungslehre . The chief 
points in which a comparison between Krause and Froebel might 
be instituted are the following: their views concerning (i) the 
personality of God, (2) nature, (3) the relation of nature to the 
Absolute, (4) man, (5) the community and solidarity of humanity, 
(6) the aim of education, (7) the supremacy of will over intellect, 
(8) religion as the supreme mode of self-realization, (9) the 'media- 
tion of opposites.' The idea underlying Froebel's conception of 
mediation, while a common possession of the period, was by him 
derived in part from Krause. 

In reading Froebel's Autobiography, note the significance of his 

contact with nature in his personal life, and compare with the 

Prelude of Wordsworth and the Alastor of Shelley. For Froebel, 

as for the youth in Alastor: 

"Every sight 

And sound from the vast earth and ambient air 

Sent to his heart its choicest impulses." 

Concerning Froebel's attempts towards an interpretation of na- 
ture, materials will be found scattered throughout his works, 
especially the Education of Man. No wholly consistent interpre- 
tation will be discovered, though many exceedingly suggestive 
things are said, (i) In certain places an interpretation is given 
reminding one of the Wordsworthian. (2) But, as Dr. Harris has 
frequently pointed out, Froebel was not a poet so much as a re- 

Herb art and Froebel 83 

ligious mystic, and frequently, perhaps most frequently, we find 
in his works the Romantic impulse uppermost, — ^to revel in a 
content of consciousness by such as Froebel and Schleiermacher 
won through religious rather than aesthetic intuitions and symbols. 
(3) Sometimes he essays a mathematical construction of nature — 
apparently because the mathematical were the only sciences which 
had been given systematic form — as Herbart and others had at- 
tempted. (4) Again, he believed that he found the morphological 
element in crystallization as did Rosenkranz in his Hegel's Natur- 
philosophie. Froebel, it is true, recognized with Idealism that the 
law of thought is the law of the cosmos, but with the Romantic 
philosophers was, it would appear, unable critically to distinguish 
between consciousness and its content, and to realize the necessity 
of an epistemological interpretation of the relation and adaptation 
of nature to mind, Froebel accepts nature as an immediately 
given reality: Epistemology seeks an answer to the question, How 
can it he given to us? This constitutes a serious deficiency in his 
philosophy of education. See also section II. On the position of 
the sciences in the time of Froebel, as well as for an account of 
various philosophies of nature attempted at the time, see Merz, 
The History of European Thought in the Nineteenth Century.] 

2. (a) From what was said in the preceding section it will 
be apparent why Froebel should take as the basis of his psy- 
chology the notion of the self or person as an individualization 
of the Universal Life or Reason. This individuality may be 
modified and developed through education, but never com- 
pletely changed. From temperament, from introspective study, 
from the influences of Romanticism and of Idealism which came 
to him in the spiritual environment of his day, Froebel had de- 
veloped a profound but somewhat mystical view of the inner 
depths of the human personality. He found it quite impossible 
to separate distinctly his psychology from his philosophy. For 
him, as for Schleiermacher, within each individual there is the 
capacity of becoming a specific expression of the world, at once 
a compendium and a specific expression of the life of humanity, 
a microcosmus of the enveloping macrocosmus. The child is to 
be regarded "as a struggling expression of an inner, divine law," 
and therefore education in its most comprehensive sense con- 
sists in "leading man as a thinking, intelligent being, growing 
into self-consciousness to a pure and unsullied, conscious, and 
free representation of the inner law of divine Unity, and in 

84 Educational Theories 

teaching him ways and means thereto." — Education of Man, 
sec. 2. 

(6) In every part of nature, life and growth appeared to 
Froebel as a progressive development from lower to higher 
grades of being. The essential feattire of mind is activity : the 
ego is not something which must exist before it can put forth 
its activities. The mind is a process, not a mere succession of 
states. The development of mind is the gradual manifestation 
of inner purposes, not the gradual modification of images and 
associations through the entrance of elements from without, [See 
Chap. VII, sec. i (d).] For him, from one point of view mental 
growth and development are the growth and development of 
^^//-consciousness and through this development the individual 
becomes aware of his essence. While this consciousness of self 
is possible only through and is continually dependent on the 
consciousness of the outer (nature and society), nevertheless 
Froebel does not regard the inner (or mind) as externally de- 
termined; rather he maintains that through consciousness, the 
individual may continually emancipate himself from the law of 
external influence, thereby making the material, or nature, 
from which his life seems to start, through whose very oppo- 
sitions and antagonisms he is lifted to a consciousness of him- 
self, and which he comes more and more to make instrumental 
to his purposes, the very medium for the attainment of spiritual 
freedom. Froebel, for the most part, insists upon the organic 
relation between nature and spirit. He does not say that man 
is merely natural, nor will he admit that man can get along 
without the natural. As was said above, mental development 
is for him fundamentally an unfolding of a system of inner aims 
which, instead of merely representing, or conforming to en- 
vironment, more and more make environment the instrument 
of self-realization. 

{c) "If we strive to grasp in a common tmity this process of 
development we find an element which manifests itself in the 
following forms: (i) as a germinating and developing power, 
working from within outward; (2) as a receptive power, from 
without inward; (3) as an assimilative and formative energy, a 
synthesis of the preceding forms. Thus the pivot upon which 
all turns is the recognition of life, of activity.'* Froebel, ac- 

Herbart and Froebel 85 

cordingly, regards activity as the ultimate feature of the men- 
tal life. The soul is an activity, influenced by its surroundings 
and reacting upon them; thereby adjusting itself to an ever- 
widening environment. Intelligence, that is, perception, mem- 
ory, thought, is for Froebel (at least for the most part throughout 
his writings) instrumental to the life-process. With the Volun- 
tarist Froebel would maintain that the ultimate basis for the ac- 
tivity of cognition is furnished by the will. (See also section 12.) 
3. Froebel never worked out with any attempt at logical 
precision a theory of ethics or of society. Nevertheless, funda- 
mental to his thought are certain well-defined convictions con- 
cerning the nature of the self, the normal constitution of man, and 
therewith his relation to the social and moral order of which he 
forms a part. Froebel 's social and ethical theory is of course a 
part of his general philosophy of life. It is of the type of ethical 
idealism throughout . While having its foundations in religion (as 
with Leibnitz, Lessing, Kant, and Schleiermacher) , yet the right 
and the good are as autonomous for Froebel as for Kant. "We 
weaken and degrade the human nature we should strengthen 
and raise, when we dangle before it a bait to good action, even 
though this bait be hung out from another world. In using an 
external stimulus, however seemingly spiritual, to call forth a 
better life, we leave undeveloped that active and independent 
inward force which is implanted within every man for the 
manifestation of ideal humanity." His ethical and social doc- 
trines have their religious foundations in the conception of 
evolution as the revelation of God. Only in such a conception can 
we understand the facts of the individual life from infancy to 
maturity: only on this basis can we appreciate the fact of har- 
mony and union between the individual and the processes of nature 
and human history. The individual soul, nature, and humanity, 
are interrelated elements in one spiritual process, to be under- 
stood only in relation to one another and in the light of the end 
towards which they seem all to be tending. In answer to the 
question. How to adjust the individual, who is always implicitly 
more than a mere individual, to the larger life in which he must 
move and have his being, Froebel would -reply, that human life, 
and hence the educative process, is possible and intelligible only 
on the assumption that both the self and the world, mind and 

86 Educational Theories 

nature, personality and environment, have their origin in the 
intelHgent purpose of one universal, spiritual principle; and 
only on the basis of such kinship between the essential nature of 
the soul and of that wider life upon which the soul enters, is it pos- 
sible to render an account of the education of the human spirit. 

It was noted above that for Froebel the growth of personality 
is a process of increasing complexity of individuality through 
participation in a wider life. On the other hand, for him as for 
Kant and Fichte, the soul must build its own world, its own 
representation of the macrocosm. The soul is not a simple 
resting identity: it is not something which has activity: it is 
activity. For Froebel as for Fichte the life of the soul is a con- 
tinual process of activity through which it attains self-knowledge 
and self-realization. For both, moreover, as Froebel declares 
"the true origin of man's activity and creativeness lies in his 
unceasing impulse to embody outside himself the divine and 
spiritual element within him." For Froebel, Schleiermacher, 
and Fichte, again, we may say in Froebel's words, "Religion 
without work is apt to degenerate into empty dreaming and 
purposeless emotion, while, on the other hand, work without 
religion tends to degrade man into a machine. . . . Work 
and religion are coeval, — as God, the Eternal, creates throughout 
all eternity." The soul is self -determining, moreover, in spite 
of, and yet by means of, opposition. The opposition of nature 
and society to the development of the intellectual and moral 
life of the individual is, however, only apparent. These, indeed, 
are the means by which this very development is rendered 
possible. For Froebel, as for Idealists generally, the life of the 
individual is the process whereby in knowing the objective world, 
he learns to know himself; and he realizes himself only as he be- 
comes a part of the life of nature and of humanity as embodied 
in the great forms of institutional life, — only as he becomes the 
agent of a divine purpose to which all things ultimately con- 
tribute. The course of the upward movement in the spiritual 
life, therefore, is one of self -estrangement and self -surrender. 
Only through a continual process of self -surrender to the life of 
nature and of humanity does man attain to a consciousness of 
the latent wealth of the inner life. 

4. It will be apparent, then, why the life process of the 

Herhart and Froebel 87 

individual, and therefore, the educational process, should be 
conceived by Froebel as essentially a social process with its 
complementary phases: (i) increasing individuaHzation and 
self-realization through activity, and (2) increasing participation 
in the various forms of institutional life, home, school, society, 
state, and church, in which the mind of the race has manifested 
itself. For him each one of the various human institutions con- 
stitute at once a system of control, and a medium for the activity of 
the individual, specific in function yet rendering to the other 
complementary and necessary service. "Thus enriching his 
(the individual's) own life by the Hfe of others, he solves the 
problem of development." According to Froebel, moreover, 
the values, habits, norms, or ideals which interpret, organize, 
and enrich the experience of the individual are socially mediated. 
They do not get to the individual save as they are mediated by 
social agencies. To put it briefly, the individual can be edu- 
cated only in the presence of other human beings. The con- 
ception of the educational process as one through which the 
spiritual possessions of humanity are mediated by the various 
social agencies, while not wholly original with Froebel, yet in 
him attained to clear consciousness and reasonably definite 
statement. While he was never able to work out completely 
this idea of the mediation of the spiritual possessions, yet he 
achieved it in a unique way so far as concerns the first six years 
of the child's life, through his conception of the home, with the 
mother as teacher, and of the kindergarten, which is through 
and through a social institution, — an agency for the mediation 
of experiences by means of the child's characteristic activity 
in that particular period. It cannot be doubted that Froebel 
for the most part kept clearly in mind throughout his work this 
idea of the educational process as a process of interaction, a pro- 
cess by which the spiritual experience, the ideal values of human 
life, are mediated or communicated to the individual. There 
are places in his writings in which, as will be pointed out in a 
subsequent section, he seems to abandon this conception for the 
intellectualistic view, but this is certainly not in harmony with 
his general position. Here we must abide by the principle of 
FroebeVs thought, clearly separating it from the matter of detail 
or its imperfect application. 

88 Educational Theories 

For example, in the Mother-Play, his ' most triumphant 
achievement,' it may be noted how Froebel works out the idea 
of education as a process of interaction between the two factors 
of the experience-process, society and the individual, repre- 
sented by the mother and child. On the one side you have the 
child with its impulses, tendencies -to -things, and tendencies- 
from-things ; to begin with for the most part at the mercy of his 
environment. The child contributes the impulse, the need, the 
unformed activity; the mother (who represents the social or 
normative side of the process) contributes the direction, the 
habitual form, the value or interpretation. As Miss Blow ex- 
presses it, Froebel sought for the point of contact between the 
manifested needs of the one and the instinctive effort of the other 
to meet such needs. The child and the mother (or what the 
mother through thinking love does for her child), for Froebel in 
his Mother-Play, therefore, are the terminal aspects of a unitary- 
educational process. What Froebel would have the mother do, 
therefore, is so to correct, organize, and enrich the child's crude 
but very real experiences, that its experience at any moment 
may be full and rich and therefore preparatory to a still fuller 
and richer experience in the future. 

(a) In a fuller discussion than can be attempted in the 
present outline of Froebel's conception of education as a pro- 
cess of interaction between the two factors of the experience, 
and thus necessarily of the educational, process, (i) society (the 
corporate aspect, represented by the mother, teacher, studies, 
etc.) and (2) the individual (representing the differentiated, the 
individualizing phase) there should in justice to him be noted 
his treatment of at least the following points: (i) The nature 
of individuality; Froebel's conception of the 'self.' Compare 
with the views of Fichte and Schleiermacher. (2) Consciousness 
as belonging "to the nature of man and as one with it." Com- 
pare the general idealistic position as outlined in Chapter V. 
(3) The primitive unity of experience and its gradual differentia- 
tion and integration through the natural impulse to activity; 
the impulse to activity finding expression first of all through a 
system of natural instincts. Compare the method by which 
Fichte, Schleiermacher and Froebel effect the transition be- 
tween spirit and nature, the realization of a spiritual principle in 

Herbart and Froebel 89 

a so-called empirical world. For Froebel, as for Fichte, freedom 
depends on activity and reflection, and for both the ethical law 
is '*each particular action should form part of a series which leads 
the individual to spiritual freedom." (4) The relation of know- 
ledge to will. The tendency of Froebel's psychology is to regard 
the system of our ideas as dependent upon our impulses and 
our will. (5) The relation of the individual to institutions. 
(6) The conception of play as mediatory. (7) The significance 
of the imitative and play activities. (8) Studies as representing 
the typical human interests and activities, and the corporate 
side of human life. (9) The notion that educative intellectual 
activity is attained through the definition of contrasts or opposite s 
demanding mediation and unification, thereby leading to the 
ultimate establishment of harmony. In the light of preceding 
chapters it is needless to say that the conception of conscious- 
ness upon which this theory of Froebel is based was, — ^through 
the application of the organic mode of interpretation consequent 
upon the failure of the mere logical principle of identity to 
afford an explanation of psychical life, — a commonplace in the 
idealistic and romantic philosophy of the period : the conception, 
namely, of consciousness as an organic unity, an indissoluble 
unity of opposites. Kant and Fichte had applied the conception 
in their interpretation of the structure of consciousness as such; 
Schelling and the Romanticists applied it in their interpretation 
of the content of consciousness ; Hegel, combining the speculative 
temper with a realistic interest in nature and history, and at- 
tempting to unify consciousness and its content, applied the 
conception as an expression of the method of all spiritual achieve- 
ment. That Froebel did not completely grasp the conception in 
its philosophic implications is evidenced by the fact that at 
times (i) with Schelling (i.e., Schelling's later writings), he 
accepts the position, "the reality of object and subject is strictly 
coordinate," and at times (2) the Hegelian position, according 
to which in consciousness is a unity presupposed in and yet 
transcending the difference between subject and object, mind 
and matter. The former position leads directly to pantheism 
and agnosticism, as with Spinoza and Spencer: and it must be 
admitted that from the point of view of their philosophy, in idea 
if not in spirit, Froebel and Schelling did not escape the diffi- 

90 Educational Theories 

culty of merging all differences in absolute oneness. The second 
point of view, that of the immanence and transcendence of con- 
sciousness, is the position of theistic idealism, — undoubtedly the 
position which Froebel strove to occupy. Becoming possessed of 
this conception, the reconciliation of opposites, and by tempera- 
ment and training inclining to an idea which might embrace the 
educational process in its totality, Froebel made it the con- 
stitutive and regulative principle of education. When, with 
Fichte, he emphasizes oppositions, antagonisms, or a system of 
limits, as the condition of activity, effort, work, and self -de- 
velopment, Froebel is surely on the right track: but when, with 
Schelling, he seems to emphasize and define disparates, oppo- 
sitions, and contrasts (without having afforded a consistent 
logic of the process of differentiation), apparently to give relief 
and color to his idea rather than to the reality, he is, to say the 
least, on dangerous ground. The validity of the philosophical 
principle which underlies Froebel's doctrine of the mediation or 
reconciliation of opposites is not here in question. (See Teachers 
College Record, Nov., 1903, pp. 22-23; ^-Iso compare modern 
interpretations of consciousness). The problem is rather one 
of interpretation of the principle, and the critical estimation of 
FroeheVs use of it as a fundamental principle in educational theory. 
Krause made some approach to a logical or systematic deduction 
of the principle : it does not appear that Froebel recognized the 
necessity of any such deduction. 

(h) In a study of Froebel's interpretation of the educational 
significance of play and games, it would be necessary to note 
in some detail the following points: (i) His essential originality 
in his attempts to make play educationally significant. (2) His 
conception of play as the "self -active representation of the inner 
life from inner necessity and impulse." (3) Theories of the 
origin of play. (4) Play as self-expression and as revealing the 
nature of the child. (5) Types of the play-activity according 
to Froebel : the play-world of the child as symbol. (6) Play in 
relation to art and work: the so-called dialectic of play, work, 
and art. The transition from play to work. (7) The indi- 
vidual and social significance of imitation. The child's per- 
ception of relations, external first of all, then causal. The 
transition from imitation to originality through the appropria- 

Herbart and Froebel 91 

Hon of the principle of the thing or process imitated. (8) Organized 
play as educative: the individual and the generic self. Educa- 
tive significance found in (i) rendering the body the more 
adequate instrument and expression of the soul, (ii) affording 
opportunity for the perception of relations, and thus a means of 
self-control through the organization of intelligence, (iii) re- 
producing typical forms of human activity, thereby affording 
a means of social preparation through the cultivation of social 
judgments, dispositions, and activities. (See Blow, Introduction 
to Mottoes and Commentaries of FroeheVs Mother-Play; also, 
Letters to a Mother. Compare also Froebel' s treatment of play 
with that found in Baldwin, Mental Development: Social and 
Ethical Interpretations, pp. 139-147; Groos, The Play of Man, 
pp. 361-406; Sully, Studies in Childhood, pp. 33-51.) 

(c) In Froebel's analysis and interpretation of the chief 
groups of subjects of instruction, note: (i) His conception of (i) 
the continuity of experience, (ii) the differentiation and integra- 
tion of experience, (iii) social experience as a spiritual organism. 
(2) Studies as modes of self-realization: processes rather than 
products educative. (3) Studies as forms of social experience. 
(4) His attempt to furnish a philosophy or psychology of the 
subject-matter of instruction; in other words, to indicate the 
"genesis of objects of study in order to discover the relation 
of such objects to the nourishment of mind." Science, art, 
number, language, occupations, plays and games, religion. 
The interests fundamental to his classification. (5) The course 
of study as the selected and organized environment of the indi- 
vidual. (6) His classification of studies in their relation to what 
Dr. Harris speaks of as Froebel's attempt to organize a system 
of education that will unfold the rational self and chain down the 

5. In the consideration of one or two concrete illustrations 
of Froebel's theory of education it may be noted that first of all 
in the Mother-Play he appears to have had in mind three fairly 
well-defined ends: (i) to raise certain of the unconscious habits 
and activities, or the indefinite intuitions, of the mother into 
clear and reflective consciousness with a view to the control of 
the child's experience, and thereby his subsequent growth and 
development; (2) to indicate within the experience of the child an 

92 Educational Theories 

element of rationality and the capacities and potencies of larger 
and richer relationships, and therewith a larger and richer ex- 
perience; (3) to indicate how through simple pictures, con- 
versations, songs, stories, and plays, the mother may present 
elements of an ideal to the feelings and imagination of the child 
and thus consciously assist in raising it, physically, intellectually, 
and morally, into harmony with that larger order of which its 
present experience is prophetic. 

6. In the study of the kindergarten as a social institution 
consider: (i) Froebel's conception of human institutions, (i) the 
relation of the individual and the social, (ii) the nature of the 
social unity, (iii) society as a system of purposes, (iv) the social 
significance of nature, (v) social participation and increasing in- 
dividualization, (vi) the relation of social order to social pro- 
gress. Froebel's conception of the significance of the Family. 
"At present it is to the quiet and secluded sanctuary of the 
family that we must look for a revival of the divine spirit 
among mankind." (2) The structure, the specific function, and 
the reality of the social life within the kindergarten society. The 
view of social organization as centering about activity. (3) The 
kindergarten as mediating through its preparatory work by 
means of play between home and school. Continuity in the 
mental life; between home and school, between education and 
life. (4) The function of institutions in the distribution and 
transmission of experience. Compare the conceptions of Fichte 
and Pestalozzi. (5) Froebel's conception that the educational 
starting-point lies in the interests, needs, activities of the child, 
and of education as a process of social interaction (see section 4) 
through which the interests, activities, experiences of the in- 
dividual are corrected, organized, amplified, and made significant 
through the reproduction in the kindergarten society of typical 
activities and experiences of the wider social life: in other words, 
that the law which lives in social life, and the ideal worths towards 
which the wider social life is struggling, are to become the law and 
deal of the kindergarten society. (6) His notion that the best 
play-materials are the children themselves. (7) The principles 
iunderlying the selection of the materials of the kindergarten pro- 
gram. (8) Froebel's method in relation to the ideal of the 
kindergarten society. (9) Habituation, Imitation and Sug- 

Herbart and Froebel 93 

gestion, and Instruction, and their respective functions. (10) 
The social significance of human labor. Compare the con- 
ceptions of Fichte and Schleiermacher. (11) The idea of the 
kindergarten and of democratic society. (12) The success of 
Froebel's adjustment of means to end in his system so far as he 
worked it out. (See Gilder, The Kindergarten: An Uplifting 
Social Influence in the Home and the District, in Proceedings 
N. E. A., 1903; Harris, The Kindergarten as a Preparation for 
the Highest Civilization, Proceedings of the International Kinder- 
garten Union, 1903.) 

7. In the organization of the system of Gifts and Occupa- 
tions Froebel seems to have had in view at least three fairly dis- 
tinct ends: (i) Through the knowledge of their form, size, and 
number, — according to Froebel the characteristic qualities of 
all material objects, — to have the individual gain a compre- 
hension of, an intellectual mastery over, the objects of the 
physical world. As Miss Blow expresses it: "The material used 
by kindergarten children for their productions has a geometric 
basis and is organized to illustrate numerical ratios. Becoming 
familiar with spheres, cubes, cylinders, circles, squares, oblongs, 
triangles, indeed all geometric planes and many geometric 
solids, the child learns to recognize them in the objects around 
him, while by constantly applying he is prepared to observe 
numerical relations. Since all form rests upon geometric 
archetypes, and all inorganic processes are governed by mathe- 
matics, the child's experiences with form and number give him 
the clue to inorganic nature. . . ." Furthermore: "The 
total series of the kindergarten gifts must illustrate in the evo- 
lution of geometric forms the general law of advance from an 
undifferentiated unit to those highly complex wholes wherein 
the most perfect unity is achieved through infinite differentia- 
tion and integration. For this reason the kindergarten gifts 
move from the sphere conceived as excluding to the sphere con- 
ceived as including all possible faces, comers, and edges, and to 
this movement of solid from sphere to sphere corresponds the 
evolution of geometric planes wherein the circle is both the 
terminus ab. quo and the terminus ad quern of a generative 
process, and the movement of lines from the curve will return 
thereto through the intersection of straight lines of different 

94 Educational Theories 

inclinations. Each solid, plane, and line is therefore appre- 
hended not in detached and solitary independence, but as an 
integral member of a related series. The exact place of each 
solid in the series is determined by its greater or less approxima- 
tion to the sphere, the exact place of each plane by its greater or 
less approximation to the circle. The primary purpose of this 
organization of the kindergarten gifts is to lead toward the ap- 
prehension of all single geometric forms as members of an 
ascending system." (Compare the attempts to indicate how 
a quantitative mastery may be gained over inorganic nature 
made by Pestalozzi and Herbart.) (2) As a symbol of the de- 
velopment of self -consciousness, the common method of which 
Froebel conceived, as was noted above, to be a progressive 
mediation of opposites. From the point of view of educational 
material this common principle of mental development demands 
according to him the presentation to the individual of contrasts 
or opposites in form and their gradual elimination by means of 
intermediate series. (3) Through the self -active representation 
of typical (a) life, (b) knowledge, and (c) beauty forms to have 
the child's experiences organized and enriched in such a way 
that they are given not merely a meaning or a value but also 
that they become more and more under control, and the child 
becomes less and less at their mercy. 

It is needless to say that Froebel's entire system of Gifts and 
Occupations is based upon a recognition of the motor character 
of consciousness. "Thought must clear itself in action and 
action resolve itself in thought." His aim was, undoubtedly, 
to maintain a balance between the intellectual and the practical. 
The child, he argues, makes or receives a plan, and then executes 
it ; has a thought and embodies it in concrete form. It is inter- 
esting also to note in many sections of his writings the degree 
to which Froebel recognized the reaction of physical conditions 
upon conscious states. (See, e.g., Mottoes and Commentaries of 
the Mother-Play, English translation, p. 167-17 1.) His purpose 
in the Gifts and Occupations, then, from one point of view, 
might be said to be to secure or maintain a balance between the 
cognitive or intellectual and the volitional or practical aspects 
of the experience of the individual. As experiences for the child 
it is fair to say that the Gifts and Occupations are, according to 

Herbart and Froebel 95 

Froebel, primarily doings, activities, media for active, motor 
expressions through physical organs, eyes, hands, and the 
muscular system in general. But this very activity, Froebel 
claims, involves observation and attention, imagination, plan- 
ning, thought, in order to the successful realization of some end. 
The materials are flexible, easily provided, and afford a stimulus 
to the growth and interplay of ideas, their increasing control, 
and continual embodiment in some form of activity. In ad- 
dition to the argument concerning the value of the Gifts and 
Occupations, namely, that they aim to maintain a balance be- 
tween the cognitive or intellectual and the practical sides of the 
experiences of the child, it should be conceded further that so 
far as Froebel in the Mother-Plays, and the Gifts, Occupations, 
and Games endeavored to have typical modes of human experi- 
ence reproduced in the school, he was certainly on the track of 
one of the most fundamental and fruitful ideas in the entire 
course of educational theory. Over the working out of the 
system of Gifts and Occupations Froebel spent fifteen years. 
What he was trying to discover was the relation of these materials 
to the nourishment of mind. The principle, not the matter of 
detail or imperfect appHcation, is the element of permanent 
significance and value. It is in the light of his fundamental 
principles that justification is found for Davidson's contention 
that "all future education must be built upon the foundation 
laid by Froebel." (See also sec. 11.) 

8. In the consideration of Froebel's conception of symbolic 
education, note (i) the natural tendency towards symbolism of 
Froebel's mind and of the period, (2) the new conception of the 
relations of the natural and the spiritual worlds, (3) the nature of 
the child's mental imagery, (4) the mental tendency to unify in 
a "world," by means of symbols, the manifold of sense, (5) the 
tendency to interpret one experience by another, (6) self-con- 
sciousness and objective consciousness, (7) the symbol as a self- 
projection, (8) the symbol as based upon analogy, (9) the symbol 
as an approximation to the universal or type, (10) the symbol 
as mediatory of social experience, (11) the symbol as mediatory 
of the technique of civilization, (12) cosmic symbolism: the 
microcosm and macrocosm. Nature as a divine sense-symbolism 
adapted to the use of man. 

96 Educational Theories 

9. In Froebel's conception of religion as affording the 
truest "world-view," and therefore, as the fundamental dispo- 
sition governing the individual's participation in the spiritual 
life of humanity, and modifying the development of that life, 
note (i) its relation to the view of Schleiermacher. The content 
of the religious consciousness. (2) Emphasis of creativity as the 
fundamental attribute. (3) Religious interpretation of nature. 
(4) Religion and morality. (5) The religious element in the 
child-consciousness. The feeling of community. (6) Stages in 
religious development. (7) The religious motive. (8) Con- 
firmation of philosophy in religion. 

10. "The duty of each generation," Froebel once declared, 
"is to gather up the inheritance from the past, and thus to serve 
the present and prepare better things for the future." The 
essential question concerning any work is not, True or false? but 
rather. How much of truth has been brought to light, however 
inadequate at times its expression may be, and however im- 
perfect the attempt has been to render its assumptions in- 
telligible ? Criticism of such a nature should enable us to attain 
a more satisfying because a more discriminating adherence to the 
thought of Froebel and to do full justice to it without enslaving 
our own. In attempting to interpret the permanent significance 
of Froebel's thought and work it is necessary to keep in mind 
certain general considerations: (i) His thought does not ex- 
hibit a systematic or logical unity so much as a unity of ten- 
dency and endeavor. The most interesting and valuable 
things in the life of an individual are his ideals. It is the motive, 
the informing purpose, that gives its consecration to life. Froe- 
bel's thought was, in its movement, essentially experimental 
and genetic. His theories were only gradually developed 
through his own life and writings. In many of his works, as he 
acknowledges, he was "breaking a path through unexplored 
regions of experience," and he recognized that his success "must 
necessarily be partial and imperfect." (2) In the study of his 
theories as developed by himself it is very often necessary to 
distinguish clearly between the principle and the matter of de- 
tail or particular appHcation. (3) Only those principles may be 
accepted as of permanent significance which receive their justi- 
fication in reason and experience. Methods of interpretation 

Herbart and Froehel 97 

and criticism based upon the reconciling principle of develop- 
ment, a principle underlying the thought of Froebel as well 
as that of the period in which his life was passed, and which 
constitutes one of the permanent achievements of its intel- 
lectual life, should enable us in the present to do justice 
even to the errors of the past and furnish a standard whereby 
to separate the permanent from the transitory, the spirit 
and the principle from the matter of detail or imperfect ap- 
plication. Such a principle of development is as hostile to an 
unwise conservatism as it is to a dogmatic criticism or overhasty 

In an account of the permanent significance of Froebel's 
work for the theory of education there should, if space per- 
mitted, be emphasized the following points: (i) The conception 
of the theory of education as ultimately a philosophy of life. 
Education implies a theory of the proper conduct of Hfe, and 
this, in turn, implies a theory of life based upon an examination 
of the nature of man and his place in the system of reality. The 
subject-matter of education is therefore as much an integral 
part of reality as that of any other science. For Froebel the 
purpose of education is one with the supreme purpose of life. 
Our conception of becoming is determined by our idea of the 
reality which underlies the process. Froebel's general position 
is that spiritual monism which conceives material and mental 
evolution as continuous phases of one spiritual movement. 
From the level of inanimate nature to that of human history 
it is one spiritual reality which manifests itself. The law, 
therefore, which reigns in nature, and the purpose revealed in 
human life must be taken into the consciousness and made manifest 
in the life of the individual. Education, accordingly, consists 
"in leading man, as a thinking, intelligent being, growing into 
self -consciousness, to a pure and unsullied, conscious and free 
representation of the inner law of divine unity, and in teaching 
him ways and means thereto." One cannot fail to be struck 
by the intensely moral tendency in all Froebel's thought. He 
regards all things, all processes, all materials, ultimately from 
the moral point of view. In this he is the disciple of Fichte and 
Schleiermacher rather than of Schelling. On the other hand, 
however, Froebel's interest is not ethical merely; it is every- 

98 Educational Theories 

where and always deeply religious. In true religion he finds, 
with Schleiermacher, the foundation and final guarantee of the 
facts of the moral life. He maintains that in man, in virtue of 
the divine principle in him, the consciousness of God is bound up 
with the consciousness of himself: and if the Absolute be not 
manifest and revealed to us in the reality we know, it is for us 
nothing. It is questionable whether the true significance of 
Froebel's work can be understood until the religious motive 
fundamental to it all is fully recognized and appreciated. (2) 
A second point in Froebel's work which should be emphasized 
is his perception of the social bearings of the problems of educa- 
tional theory, his recognition that a rational theory of education 
is related in a fundamental way to the spiritual interests of 
society. Froebel was ever alive to the need of keeping his 
theories close to practice, recognizing that ideas which have 
little or no relation to life, but stand apart from it, are self- 
condemned. However inconsistent at times Froebel's thought 
may appear, it must not be forgotten that it is insight rather 
than exactitude in thought that tells most powerfully on human 
life. (3) A third feature of Froebel's thought which should be 
noted is his emphasis upon individuality. For him the ten- 
dency to individuation is the unconscious or conscious tendency 
of every finite thing. For Froebel an individual is essentially 
a creative entity: it is what it can do, and where there is no 
activity there is no being, — ^no reality. In man, as in the 
things of nature, is a manifestation of the divine essence, a 
manifestation which necessarily attains to higher expression 
and fuller consciousness. Although dependent upon nature, 
upon humanity, upon God as much as the stone by the wayside 
or the beast of the field, yet man's dependence is of a different 
character. The divine Hfe expresses itself in man not simply 
as existence, or nutrition, sensation and impulse, but in desire, 
in the knowledge of nature, in sympathy for things human, in 
the creation of the beautiful, in aspiration towards the good. 
By the presentation (Darstellung) or realization of the individual 
life, therefore, which Froebel identifies with the educational 
ideal, he means the evolution of the spiritual nature of the 
individual, the development of conscious self-determining ac- 
tivity in conformity with the law or purpose immanent in all 

. Herbart and Froebel 99 

things. In virtue of reason man can organize the objects and 
beings about him into systems, — nature and humanity^ — and 
gradually rise to the unity of essence and manifestation, of inner 
and outer, and the recognition of God as the immanent life of 
both. (4) While emphasizing the right of the individual to de- 
velopment, Froebel, with Hegel, clearly recognized that only in 
the spiritual community of human institutions, the home, the 
school, society, the state, the church, does the individual attain 
true selfhood. The individual in any stage of his development 
is an organism in the larger organism of life. The center of 
Froebel's educational theory is the thought of the individual, 
but the individual regarded from the twofold point of view, 
as a partially independent unity, and as part of a larger whole. 
To keep these two aspects in view was one of the problems 
upon which his mind was most completely set in the working 
out of his educational ideas: to balance the notions of self- 
realization and of membership in a more inclusive unity. His 
thought is perhaps more adequately expressed by saying that 
the individual at any state of his existence is in a process of 
organization or unification. (See Butler, Status of Education 
at the Close of the Century, in N. E. A. Proceedings, 1900; Dewey, 
The School and Society; Harris, How the School Strengthens the 
Individuality of the Pupil, in Educational Review, October, 1902 , 
Howison, On the Correlation of Elementary Studies, in Report of 
Commissioner of Education, 1895-96.) 

Other conceptions which form integral elements in the 
thought of Froebel and which can here merely be named in 
briefest form are the following: (i) The conception of the unity 
and continuity of (i) mental development, (ii) educational 
factors, (iii) educative materials. (2) The demand that the 
doctrine of principles direct its attention not to cognition by 
itself, but to the activity of psychical life as a whole. The 
standard of attainment is not therefore intellectual, but spiritual. 
(3) The conception of the educational process as possible be- 
cause the self and the world are not mechanical disparates but 
rather elements in one organic spiritual process. (4) The at- 
tempt to work out a systematic plan for the upbuilding of ex- 
perience in harmony with the idealistic view of consciousness as 
a self -active principle in the creation of an intellectual and moral 

loo Educational Theories 

world. The conception of man not as mere knower but as 
worker. (5) Education as a process of social interaction. The 
work of the mother in the education of the child. Froebel 
planned for parents and teachers as well as for children. The 
kindergarten as a society of children, engaged in play and its 
various forms of self-expression, through which the child comes 
to learn something of the values and methods of social life, 
without as yet being burdened by too much of intellectual 
technique. The education of the individual conceived as 
growth in freedom (personality) through the organization of 
interests, purposes, activities into a system of life. Education 
is a process of mediation between the individual and the law or 
comprehensive order of things (natural and human) in such a 
way that the law lives in the individual not as constraint hut as 
nature, and he only is truly a person whose impulses are con- 
formed to the law of all life. (6) The idea of education through 
processes rather than through products. (7) The significance 
of the principle of imitation in the upbuilding of experience. 
(8) The conception that education by development demands 
the closest conformity of the education to the nature of the 
individual. For this reason it must closely follow the child-soul 
through all the successive stages. The primary aim is to 
awaken and to stimulate the innate principle of life in its de- 
velopment according to eternal laws. It is the mother upon 
whom, first of all, this duty devolves: the home thus becoming 
invested with a deep and far-reaching significance as the first 
seat of culture. (9) Psychology of educative materials. The 
educative significance of play. (10) The kindergarten as a 
social institution. (11) The educative significance of nature. 
For Froebel the phenomena of nature are not expressionless. 
They possess a language, visible and audible, which their mere 
reduction to law does not wholly exhaust, but is disclosed to 
the feeling, to the intuition, to the wise^passiveness of the soul. 
(12) Religion as the fundamental disposition-'governing the in- 
dividual's participation in the spiritual life. (13) His insistence 
upon service as the goal of education. (14) His vindication of 
the sacredness and original soundness of human^nature. (15) 
The conception of life in its entirety as one great educational 
opportunity, and of the various institutions,-^^ home, school, 

Herbart and Froebel loi 

society, the state, the church as instruments in the reaHzation 
of this larger human culture. 

II. In illustration of the difficulties which Froebel encoun- 
tered in attempting to formulate his educational ideas there may 
be mentioned his strange terminology, in the use of which he was 
influenced by Krause; his lack of literary form; "his absurd 
etymologies; his lapses into artificial symbolism; his puerile 
analogies and formal allegories." There are, however, more 
serious difficulties in his thought, difficulties which seem to lie 
in the way of an indiscriminate acceptance of his as a thoroughly 
consistent and satisfactory theory of education. Certain of these 
difiS-culties should be briefly referred to : 

(a) It was admitted above that Froebel never succeeded in 
giving to his philosophy of education the rounded completeness 
of scientific system. In Herbart we find the trained philosopher, 
thoroughly alive to the need as well as the nature of system, and 
anxious according to the custom of his day to show the educa- 
tional implications of his general philosophical theory. It is but 
natural, therefore, that Herbart 's educational doctrines should 
be given to us in a highly organized form. Froebel, however, 
resembles Herder, Schelling, and the Romanticists generally in 
his inability to keep his poetic, his philosophic, and his religious 
ideas apart. Logic, ethics, psychology, epistemology are all 
fused together by him, as so often by Plato, in a semi-religious 
synthesis. The philosophic spirit and a large measure of 
philosophic insight were his, but not the power of philosophic 
exposition or of selecting an adequate vehicle for the transmis- 
sion of his ideas. Much of his thinking is the outcome of the 
true Romantic impulse to revel in a content attained through 
intuition and symbolism rather than as a result of critical re- 
flection. The natural trend of his mind was rather in the 
direction of great symbolic intuitions than of the somewhat arid 
ways of critical analysis. 

Q)) Permeating Froebel's conception of the educational pro- 
cess and the educative materials are lurking certain ideas which 
not only endanger, but which to all appearances are in flat con- 
tradiction to the monistic view of reality upon which his general 
philosophy is based. It was implied in preceding sections that 
the position of idealistic monism affords on the whole a more 

I02 Educational Theories 

satisfactory basis for a philosophy of education than does 
pluraHstic realism, and chiefly because Realism while conceiving 
the Absolute not as one but as many independent realities asserts 
the possibility of their real communion with one another. 
Idealism (and this is in harmony with the doctrine of evolution) 
asserts that it is impossible to view man and nature, the social 
and the natural orders, as isolable in any other than an ideal way. 
In this, moreover. Idealism is supported by indubitable facts 
connected with the evolution of the religious and the aesthetic 
consciousness, of the sciences, and of the commercial and in- 
dustrial evolution of society. The question, then, to be asked 
concerning the thought of Froebel is this: Is the dualistic con- 
ception of the individual's environment, nature and humanity, 
presupposed throughout his interpretation of studies and in the 
gifts and occupations, consistent with the general philosophical 
position fundamental to Froebel's system, and, if it is not con- 
sistent, does it furnish us a philosophical and unitary principle 
by which to determine educational materials? With Kant, 
Froebel seems still to accept a dualism between mind and nature 
(nature, as physical environment, or so-called objects in space 
apart from mind). According to the idealistic monism under- 
lying his thought nature is not something which merely encom- 
passes or surrounds man or society in a mechanical way; it is 
something which enters organically into the very makeup of 
human life. Nature without man is blind: man without 
nature is an impossibility. Nature and man are not two en- 
tities, — a belief from which Kant never entirely freed himself, — 
but terminal aspects of one spiritual process. Nature, then, 
in the philosophical and ethical sense means for idealism the 
processes and materials, not which lie beyond or external to social 
life, but which essentially and organically condition it. In the 
educational sense, nature means the realization (as worths) and 
comprehension (as means) of these same processes and materials. 
To admit that in educational theory this separation of mind and 
nature is a matter of no importance is to deny the significance 
of Idealism for educational theory, and to forfeit the benefits to 
be gained from the attempts of Aristotle, Kant, Fichte, and 
Hegel to reconcile the apparent opposites, mind and nature, 
soul and body, freedom and law, natural inclination and moral 

Herbart and Froebel 103 

effort, mechanism and teleology, nature and culture, as stages 
through which the spiritual order is realized. (See also the gen- 
eral discussion of the Kantian epistemology. Chap. VI, sec. 4.) 

(c) The results of the same dualistic tendency in Froebel's 
thought may be noted in a slightly different form in seeking an 
answer to the question, Has Froebel adjusted in a satisfactory 
way his threefold conception of the Gifts (to take these as 
typical), first, as the medium through which the individual 
comes to an intellectual mastery of objects in space ; second, as 
divided into the life, knowledge, and beauty forms, a distinction 
at times approaching a separation analogous to the divisions of 
the faculty psychology; third, as mediating to the individual 
typical forms of social experience f In seeking an answer to this 
question it is necessary to keep in mind several factors which 
are, in reality, implicit in Froebel's general philosophical posi-"* 
tion: (i) The continuity of development. (2) Froebel's demand 
that we are to "give to each stage that which the stage de- 
mands." (3) The need of educative as well as mere disciplinary 
activity. (4) "Without the relation-giving action of mind there 
would be no objective-world. (5) This relation-giving function 
is not merely individual but social. (6) The fact that the con- 
scious distinction between mxin and nature is itself the result of a 
process, arising only through later reflection, and that the young 
child is not yet prepared for the specialization or isolation (of 
norms, ends, and values, on the one side, and of the processes 
or materials through which these norms, ends, and values are 
realized) demanded by the divisions between man and nature. 
(7) The fact that the child's life goes on in the medium or en- 
vironment of society. 

To a degree, then, in Froebel's interpretation of the Gifts 
and Occupations the old dualism of mind and nature still seems 
to persist. Alongside this duahstic conception is one more in 
harmony with the idealistic psychology of Fichte and of modern 
ideahstic psychology generally, — a conception, however, which 
Froebel did not always consistently maintain. The more im- 
portant characteristics of this position may be indicated in some 
detail, in order that we may have a standard by which to es- 
timate Froebel's actual achievement : 

(a) The conception maintains a functional view of mind, i.e.. 

I04 Educational Theories 

in the wider sense, namely, that the mind is no isolated entity: it 
is not something which has activity; it is activity. We no 
longer speak of mind and its faculties, of functions and that 
which has functions. The mind is real only in its activity, or 
rather, its activity, its functioning, is its reality. The mind or 
self is activity operating in intrinsic relations to social situations, 
to a larger social order {i.e., social in the widest as well as the 
narrowest sense). The general position of the view of the soul 
as thus conceived is that in determining what consciousness is 
recourse must be had to an examination of whxit consciousness 
does. It attempts to escape the extreme positions of both (i) 
Empiricism, according to which the mind is conceived as a pro- 
duct rather than a principle, and of (2) Rationalism, which in 
one form or other conceives of the soul as a pre-existing spiritual 
entity, endowed with capacities or faculties, prior to the exercise 
of such faculties or capacities, existing behind these as a kind of 
(transcendental) substance or substratum, and before the ob- 
jective world has as yet disturbed the pure unity of its essence. 
The view of evolutionary -idealism is not that the mind is mere 
product or epiphenomenon, nor a mere transcendental spiritual 
substance which (so far as actual experience is concerned) is a 
pure abstraction, but that it is a concrete specific activity con- 
stantly directed to the accomplishment of something and not only 
the bearer of the experience process, but an efficient agent in its 
furtherance. From this general conception it follows (i) that 
in the mental life, as an organic unity, consciousness cannot 
(without a complete departure from reality) be abstracted from 
its relations. Prior to and apart from objective experience 
consciousness is an illusion. It will thus be apparent how 
necessary it is in the analysis of experience to keep in mind its 
organic unity: in other words, the organic relation between 
consciousness and its object, the agent and the situation or con- 
ditions in which the activity proceeds. (2) That just as the life 
elements, organism and environment (compare the act of 
breathing, which is a functional coordination of the lungs as 
organ and air as environment), so the mental life is a con- 
tinuous coordination or functioning of two elements, self and 
environment. Herein we see the difficulty in the Empirical 
and Rationalistic position. Just as some biologists would 

Herbart and Froebel 105 

identify function with organ alone, making environment purely 
external, or with environment alone, making the organ simply 
product, so the Empiricist would make the self a product and 
not a principle, while the Rationalist would make the soul a 
principle existing prior to its contact with the objective world, 
and, at most, maintaining only incidental relations with the 
latter. On the other hand, the evolutionary view of mind 
maintains that the relation of consciousness or self to objective 
experience or environment is absolute and intrinsic. An 
isolated consciousness is no consciousness at all: it is a self- 
contradiction. (3) Since the mental life is not the outcome of 
a predetermined self upon an external environment, or of the 
adjustment of the self to a predetermined environment, neither 
the self nor the environment are eternally fixed in themselves, 
but both change in the movement of the life-process. In the 
functional movement of the mental life both the self and the 
environment are modified and determined. Both are essen- 
tially transitional, in a continual process of becoming. The self 
is real in so far as it continues to act, to become, to progress. 
(4) Self-consciousness is not a subsequent or higher growth of 
consciousness, but in rudimentary form at least is a quality 
of all consciousness. It is consciousness with the emphasis on 
the subject rather than the object, the agent rather than the, 

(b) Sensations and ideas are not ends in themselves: they 
are, so to speak, clues or stimuli in directing activity. All 
knowledge involves both percepts and concepts, sensations and 
ideas and their combination. These may be discussed from the 
point of view of (i) origin, (ii) content, (i) Sensations: (i) The 
biologist maintains that the organs of sense had their origin in 
the problem of the life-process. Such variations as were of 
service in the life-struggle were selected; others, offering no 
positive contribution, were discarded. The sense-organs were 
thus in their origin organs of adjustment, methods of economy; 
through natural selection their increasing perfection meant more 
perfect adjustment, i.e., increasing self -maintenance on the part 
of those possessing them. Thus, biologically, the knowledge 
mediated by the sense-organs had its origin in the needs of the life- 
process; it was an instrument of control, in securing food or 

io6 Educational Theories 

escaping danger, (ii) In the child again, activities in the form 
of inherited instincts and impulses precede sensations. His 
characteristic is impulsiveness; he is essentially a motor being. 
The child's curiosity is preparatory to some activity, a prelude 
to behavior. It is ever in the interest of some experiment on 
the part of some bodily organ, usually the hand or mouth. For 
him, the objects of his environment are the particular activities 
which they suggest and distinct sensations are the sensible news 
of his behavior, (iii) In the adult consciousness, likewise, the 
sensation is a sign, and has significance only as part of a larger 
whole. When do we have sensations? Examine such experi- 
ences as taking the car, looking at your watch, the clock's 
ceasing to tick, walking over an unaccustomed road, moving 
the ears, etc. It will be found in such experiences that sensa- 
tions either regulate activity, or are signs within the experience 
circuit, i.e., the retrospective reference; or, through their appeal 
to attention, they furnish the materials of a new problem, i.e., 
their prospective reference. (2) Ideas. Only a very brief out- 
line can be made in this connection. The concept or idea, as is 
true of sensation, has a retrospective as well as a prospective 
reference. It is (i) a register of past experience, a. habit, a 
method of ordering sensations. On the other hand, an idea 
embodies (ii) a plan of action. Its function within experience is 
not only to organize experience, but to institute or furnish the 
method of future experience. Its function, therefore, is essen- 
tially mediatory, instrumental. Thus the definition of idea is 
in terms of its function, of its position in the movement of ex- 
perience. It is the instrument of the growth of experience from 
the less rich and less definite to the richer and more definite 
forms. To illustrate, take the judgment, The pencil is sharp. 
Sharp is an idea, but sharpness does not exist in reality; only 
as a quality, emphasized within, or abstracted from experience. 
Why, then, form the 'idea' or 'concept* of that which does 
not exist? Simply because the idea, so emphasized or ab- 
stracted, will furnish a sign, a plan, a method of future action. 
The idea 'sharp,' then, is ultimately instrumental to a larger 
experience process, e.g., that of writing. Ideas, then, in pro- 
viding a method or plan of action make for economy within ex- 
perience, enable us to anticipate and thereby control future 

Herbart and Froebel 107 

experiences. They are thus constructions of the past and of the 
future. Herein is their kinship with science. Ideas are plans 
of action. Laws of science are constructions of the past and 
future behavior of those reaHties with which man has to deal. 
Ideas and sciences are thought -constructions for the registration 
and control of experience. Sensations, ideas, science, are thus 
seen to be regulative and mediatory in the conduct of life. 

(c) The child gets at nature through human life, through a 
human medium. Its approach to the world, its normal study 
of it, is teleological. This conclusion of philosophical idealism, 
namely, that nature and civilization, matter and mind, body 
and soul, are not self -subsisting, isolated entities (or at best only 
mechanically related), but are rather complementary phases of 
one spiritual movement, seems to be confirmed in a unique way 
when we turn to the interpretation of any one of the great lines 
of human interest and endeavor. Only the barest suggestion 
of such lines of possible inquiry and confirmation can be given 
here. It will be noted how in sympathy they are with the 
thought of Hegel and the spirit, if not always the letter, of Froebel. 
(i) The religious influence of external nature has in almost 
every age cooperated in producing in man the belief that within 
or behind so-called material things there is a spiritual reality. 
Idealism finds in the great, historical religions a striking con- 
firmation of its own central position that the universe of nature, 
though for purposes of description, distinguished as material, is 
fundamentally a manifestation of spirit. Through countless 
generations, then, nature, working in and through the religious 
consciousness, has exercised a unique influence in the education 
of the human soul. (2) Another striking confirmation of the 
idealist's contention of the ultimate kinship and, hence, possible 
community between man and nattire, might be found in tracing 
the growth of man's aesthetic interest in nature, in what is some- 
times called the poetic interpretation of nature. Just as 
through science nature is seen to be interpenetrated with 
rationality, so through art and poetry in their process of ideal- 
ization has it been shown to be suggestive of moral and aesthetic 
values. (3) Through the development of economic and in- 
dustrial life in modern times the dependence of man on nature 
in the realization of his purposes and the perpetuation of his 

io8 Educational Theories 

experience is being more and more acknowledged and under- 
stood. Industrial and commercial life are forcing upon the 
mind of man a newer and higher teleological interpretation of 
his natural environment, and proving to him how completely- 
human life and progress are involved in the subjugation of 
nature. (4) Science, again, and Idealism meet on common 
ground. Science rests on the belief that there is a correspond- 
ence between the course of nature and the mind of man. This 
faith is its presupposition : the establishment of the correspond- 
ence is its goal. The sciences so far developed are an evidence 
of the affinity between the intelligence of man and the intelligible 
order of nature. It is only necessary to refer to its history to 
show in what manifold ways, though through a discipline both 
severe and prolonged, the struggle for scientific knowledge has 
been fitted to discipline the intelligence and the moral nature of 

It was said above that the child gets at nature through human 
life, through a human medium. In the process the child contri- 
butes the activity (at first instinctive or impulsive) ; society (nature 
and humanity) contributes the situations, the norms, the system of 
purposes. (Compare the positions especially of Fichte, Schleier- 
macher, and Hegel.) A further illustration of the organic con- 
nection between what Froebel designates the inner and outer 
may be given in a consideration of the teleological relation of 
mind and body. With the idealism which Froebel strove to 
appropriate it is assumed that the essence of being is one in 
kind, and spiritual. Between mind and body there is no es- 
sential antagonism or opposition. The mind is no fixed entity 
separable from matter. If we are to trust our experience matter 
cannot be as foreign to consciousness as is ordinarily believed. 
If the analysis made above be true, mind and matter, soul and 
body, are terminal aspects of a unitary, living, spiritual ex- 
perience, organic throughout, and in which the so-called nervous 
system, body, or matter, is instrumental, the machinery of its 
growth, and of its expanding life. Many look upon the physical 
as something set over against the spiritual, something that 
restricts, confines, enslaves. According to the view expressed 
here the physical, with its senses and stimuli, is the very means 
whereby we gain freedom. The child, feeling the pain from 

Herbart and Froebel 109 

the finger thrust into the flame, and thereby restraining itself 
afterwards, is not Hmited by its bodily senses or its nervous 
system. Rather is its nervous system the very instrument 
through which its freedom is gained. Moreover, just as the 
body, and nature itself, are instrumental to the self, and no 
mere hindrance, in like manner is the machinery of institutions 
no mere hindrance, but the very medium of escape for the 
individual from the domination of mere instinct and impulse to 
conscious self-determination. No adequate statement of free- 
dom as a ready-made faculty or power of mind can be given in 
a paragraph, if at all. Yet when we take the so-called physical 
and institutional life, not as mere external and antagonistic 
opposites, but rather from the teleological and instrumental point 
of view, we may realize more fully the significance of the most 
apparent and the most fundamental fact in experience, namely 
that the consciousness of self implies the consciousness of the 
not -self, and grows with it, and by means of it. Thus conceiving 
the self and the world as the terminal aspects of a living organic 
reality or experience and communicated to us (through con- 
sciousness) in inseparable correlation we can regard neither one 
as a resultant of the other. Together they constitute a functional 
manifestation of a unity which is their common and absolute 
ground. What, then, is enforced in this section is the im- 
possibility of conceiving a soul or mind in itself, a pre-existing 
entity, or of matter in itself, a self-contained existence. Keep- 
ing by experience we recognize that subject and object are never 
met by us apart. They are distinctions within a unity, but not 
different or antagonistic entities. And it scarcely need be re- 
marked in passing that the doctrine outlined above is neither 
materialism, nor subjective idealism. It is an attempt to construe 
teleologically the relation of mind and matter, self and not-self, 
the individual and institutions, without obliterating their 
differences nor reducing one to the other; securing the reality 
of both in a life whose variety is unity and whose essence is 
spiritual. The ultimate reality of the finite self lies in its 
meaning (its functional relation and activity) not for itself alone 
but as part of the entire system of Absolute experience (so-called 
physical, social, etc.). To begin with, the self is an organjthat 
through its endowment of consciousness may erect itself|into 

no Educational Theories 

membership in the organic, spiritual system of universal ex- 
perience or activity, which in turn is to be conceived as neces- 
sarily differentiating and expressing itself in the growing life of 
its >parts. If the Absolute is conscious life, it must also be 
social. But a "society" is not a mere aggregation of parts: to 
say that it is an organism is to assert something quite different. 
Accepting the view of reality as an organic and self -differentiat- 
ing unity, the finite self in its experience declares itself as a 
fundamental differentiation of this reality. Just as in the 
physical organism (only the imperfect approximation of a true 
organic unity) the various parts or differentiations, in a sense, 
have within them the content of the whole, so selves or persons, 
as fundamental differentiations growing into self-consciousness, 
have potentially within them the content of the entire organism 
of reality, though of course not in the same way that the organ- 
ism itself contains it. In himself the individual self is naught, 
in union with the whole of reality everything is potentially hi&. 
As a spiritual being, therefore, there is nothing which may be 
regarded as the individual's exclusive possession. He shares, 
participates in a common Hfe. This is the community of the 
spiritual life. From first to last the Hfe of the individual is a 
shared life, a life shared with nature, and human beings. But 
with these it is shared. They are not its origin. In the attempt 
to account for the origin of the individual, as a spiritual process 
of experience, we are ultimately forced to regard this process of 
individual life as a process of realizing the universal experience 
through itself. Human experience thus becomes a progressive 
acquaintance with and adjustment to Absolute Reality. 

{d) In viewing civilization as the progressive articulation and 
realization of human nature which still persists in the spiritual 
experience, the intellectual interests, the habits of conduct of 
the present, it is assumed that (i) the most satisfactory psy- 
chology of race-development is a psychology of action : The ulti- 
mate social fact is ''men acting together for the sake of interrelated 
ends.'' These ends may be protection, wealth, worship, what 
not; man's ever-increasing wants rising into desires and his 
perpetual efforts to satisfy those wants. But back of this 
notion of men in functional relation to one another and to their 
environment we cannot go. The history of civilization is the 

Herbart and Froebel 1 1 1 

history of human achievement. (2) The conditions or materials 
of human activity are nature. CiviHzation is ultimately pos- 
sible because man and nature are not isolated entities, but 
rather phases of one spiritual movement. In a very real sense 
the direct influence of nature upon man is greatest when he is 
in the primitive stage of development. In the process of social 
evolution through institutions, the growth of knowledge, the 
increase of tools and inventions, there is developed a psychical 
medium through which the direct physical influence of nature 
is humanized and mediated. Nature, from the physiological 
point of view, does still influence the individual directly: but 
psychically or educationally nature's influence is mediated 
through the process of social life of which the individual through- 
out his career is a member. From the beginning man has been 
in some kind of functional relation to his environment. His- 
life has presented itself to him as a series of problems to be 
solved: and these problems are social as well as individual. 
Man's achievements are social achievements and have therefore 
been brought about by some form of social action and coopera- 
tion. It may be said, then, that civilization, or culture, repre- 
sents the values, norms, ideals ; nature is the processes, materials, 
the means of their realization. It is the methods discovered by 
man in the course of his experience for the registration, organi- 
zation, control, and perpetuation of his experience. It has thus 
a retrospective as well as a prospective aspect. In civilization, 
therefore, as the organization of human life thus far attained, 
there are certain fundamental methods or norms which are in- 
herent in its natural constitution and which reproduce them- 
selves in all its manifold forms. In the analysis of these 
normative elements, Science, Language, Art and Literature, 
Institutions, and Religion, these must be continually viewed as 
inter-related aspects of a common social experience or activity: 
they are the general elements of civilization, — elements which 
constitute the real existence of the concrete and organic unity of 
society. Each of these elements has its retrospective and pros- 
pective reference: each represents a fundamental habit and 
accommodation in the life of the race. All together they are 
functional elements within the social process, mediating agencies 
in the communication or transmission of experience, instrumental 

112 Educational Theories 

to the spiritual life of man. The evolution in nature and in 
civilization has its goal in the elevation and expansion of the 
personal life. It will thus be recognized how necessary to any- 
adequate statement of the "Course of Study" is a chart of 
civilization, — a morphological or psychological presentation of 
the great methods or norms according to which human experience 
has been organized, elevated, and expanded. Adequately to state 
what science, art, and religion mean in the movement of the in- 
dividual's experience, it is ultimately necessary to trace their 
significance in the movement of the spiritual experience of 
the race. 

12. If the foregoing be a fair, though brief, statement of the 
position of evolutionary idealism it will be possible to discover 
just how far the position of Froebel coincides, and wherein his 
system tends here and there to diverge from or wholly abandon 
the conception which seems to the evolutionary idealist to be 
along the way where truth lies. The important questions, then, 
to ask concerning Froebel's treatment of studies, and perhaps 
especially of the gifts and occupations, are these: (i) Do they, 
in any way, force upon the child a distinction (between man and 
nature, or between man and social life) which is the result of 
later reflection and abstraction"^ (2) Does Froebel, and to what 
degree, divorce sense or thought training from the normal system 
of activities and purposes, — activities and purposes in which 
alone sensations and ideas gain their significance ? If such be the 
case, such training must ultimately become mechanical and 
valueless educationally, producing, indeed, what Dr. Harris 
speaks of as arrested development. What is to be our standard 
of sense and thought training? If we accept the voluntaristic , 
or evolutionary -idealistic position, it follows that for the child 
there must be a motive to activity, an outlet beyond itself, — a 
motive which forms part of a teleological system. Do the Gifts 
and Occupations (to take them as typical) always provide a 
motive sufficient to make the activity of the child significant ? 
(Compare the criticisms which have been made on the formalism 
of the Kantian Ethics, and his complete separation between 
reason and desire.) Does Froebel in the Gifts and Occupations, 
to any degree, return to the intellectualistic position from which 
he was attempting to get away? Does Froebel introduce pre- 

Herbart and Froebel 113 

maturely the technique of certain activities apart from their 
relation to or significance or function within the child's ex- 
perience? Is his analysis of the Gift, for the most part, a 
logical or psychological one ? Is it made from the educator's or 
from the learner's point of view? The psychology of a gift, 
occupation, or study, implies the interpretation of the experience, 
for which the gift or study stands, from the genetic point of 
view, i.e., from the point of view of the one who is realizing the 
experience; whereas the logic of a study is an analysis of the 
experience for which it stands, from the point of view of the one 
who has passed through the experience. (3) Does Froebel 
consistently make the child, as an active social being, with 
needs, impulses, purposes which receive their interpretation or 
fulfilment through social life, the center for correlation, or does 
he at times approach the intellectuali^tic position of Herbart, 
and make not activities but ideas, not processes but products, the 
educative centers? (4) Is Froebel's treatment of the relations 
of the natural, supernatural, and spiritual worlds consistent 
with his general monistic and immanental point of view? Has 
he adjusted in a consistent manner one to the other, the so- 
called life, knowledge, and beauty forms of the gifts? /^ 

The difficulties inherent in Froebel's treatment of the sub- 
ject-matter of instruction may now be briefly summarized: 
(i) His failure to work out a theory of knowledge which would be 
consistent with his general philosophical position. (2) His fre- 
quent lapse from a voluntaristic psychology to a psychology of 
the intellectualistic type of Herbart. (3) His failure to keep 
always in mind the implications of his own doctrine of the 
social nature of consciousness. (4) His failure to distinguish 
in every case between the logic of studies and their psychological 
aspect, in other words, between studies as organized social ex- 
perience and as modes of self-realization. 

13. A further difficulty remains to be mentioned, the diffi- 
culty arising from what Dr. Harris speaks of as the biological 
analogy. It is by no means clear that Froebel's thought is free 
from the error due to the analogous application of the categories 
from one level of existence to the phenomena of a different order. 
This tendency, unfortunately, led him into all sorts of diffi- 
culties. "This tendency at the present time," says Professor 

114 Educational Theories 

Baldwin, "is the bane of contemporary science other than 
physical. The theory of evolution is responsible for much of 
this cheap apology for science — biology used in sociology, 
physics in psychology, the concept of energy in history, etc. 
Evolution has been mistaken for reduction, the highest genetic 
modes being 'explained' in terms of the lowest, and much of 
the explaining done by 'explaining away' most that is char- 
acteristic of the highest. And biological or organic evolution 
itself is a storehouse of mistaken analogies brought over into 
the moral sciences." — (Development and Evolution, p. 334. See 
also the article of Dr. Harris, The Danger of Using Biological 
Analogies in Reasoning on Educational Subjects, Proceedings 
N. E. A., 1902.) The fact must not be overlooked in educa- 
tional theory that the analogous application of principles from 
one order of being does not suffice to explain the phenomena of 
a higher order of being. The standard must be reversed before 
final interpretations may be made. The biological analogy 
may be used as preliminary to the analysis of such categories as 
organism, adaptation, development, environment, etc., because 
it is helpful, not because it is final. The fundamental category 
of self-consciousness, the working hypothesis of philosophic in- 
quiry, can be understood, as Descartes long since pointed out, 
only through its own light. The key to its understanding is 
within itself. 

The difficulty in the biological analogy as it affected the 
thought of Froebel is seen in his attempt to reconcile, (i) the 
conception of education as a natural development, the outcome 
of the silently operative laws of nature (in certain statements, it 
must be admitted, that Froebel approaches dangerously near 
the position of Rousseau, according to whose theory education 
must be subordinated to nature and at most consists in the re- 
moval of obstructions) ; and (2) the Fichtean conception of 
education which views it as essentially a self -determining activity 
in the face of oppositions and in the light of ever worthier ideals; 
in other words, the conception which demands that activity he 
educative. Though Froebel has furnished the general schema, 
and has perhaps done more than any other man to workout in its 
principles a system in which the two conceptions (from one point 
of view they are the conceptions, on the one hand of Leibnitz, 

Herbart and Froebel 115 

and of Hegel on the other) are adjusted, it is not clear thati their 
reconciliation is wholly satisfactory. The attainment of stich 
a goal presupposes a long period of social cooperation as well as 
a body of organized knowledge obtained through an adherence 
to the criteria and methods of a strictly scientific and philo-^ 
sophic procedure. 

14. It is always a difficult task to separate what is per- 
manent from what is transitory in our inheritance from the 
past: it is one, however, which each generation has to under- 
take for itself. There is an especial reason why we should 
bring to the study of Froebel a truly critical and yet sympa- 
thetic attitude. His system presents a type of educational 
organization more in harmony with the spirit of democratic 
society than any other hitherto proposed. He himself de- 
clared, indeed, that the spirit of the American nationality was 
the only one in the world with which his method was in com- 
plete harmony and to which its legitimate institutions would 
present no barriers. On the other hand, it is asserted at the 
present time that the democratic institutions of America are on 
trial. Some there are who declare that the school has been un- 
able to fulfil its part as the bulwark of democracy. The question, 
therefore, comes to us. What have the ideas of Froebel accom- I 
plished and what more can they accomplish in meeting the / 
needs of American civilization? The spread of his ideas during 
the last twenty years is perhaps the most significant fact in the 
educational life of America during that period. Froebel saw in 
a unique way the restorative function of the child and child-nature 
in the spiritual life of men and women, and came to regard it as 
the deepest source of human welfare and improvement. With 
singular clearness he recognized that out of the education of the 
spiritual nature alone can issue that life and force and spirit 
which makes for democratic civilization in the highest sense. 

As is well known, Froebel worked back in his thought from 
a survey of education in general to the education of a particular 
period. Had time and opportunity been vouchsafed to him, he 
would doubtless have framed a scheme of development in which 
he would have insisted on the same fundamental principles 
found in his formulation of the educative process in the kinder- 
garten period. In this country at the present time the watch- 

ii6 Educational Theories 

word is 'educational reconstruction' all along the line, in the 
elementary, secondary, and higher stages. It is, therefore, but 
natural to ask, // FroeheVs principles are operative (in the main) 
in one stage, are they not also valid in the other stages as well? 
How far do the present methods and processes of the kinder- 
garten relate themselves to the home life and experiences of the 
child, and to what extent do the same methods prepare the way 
to his subsequent development? Just here is the opportunity 
once more for those who will lay to heart and live by the spirit 
and truth, and not the mere letter, of Froebel's thought. The 
burden of criticism, of unceasing study, pursued in a spirit of 
openness to the light and fidelity to the truth, must not be 
shirked. If Froebel's thought is to assist in the educational 
reconstruction, if it is to shape the new education as it should, 
it must itself be criticised and freed from certain imperfect 
forms in which it has become embodied. It must be modified or 
transformed in the light of truths brought forward by science and 
by the changed conditions of the Western world, — ^truths which it 
cannot afford to neglect. We live spiritually, says Professor 
Royce, by out-living our formulas and by thus enriching our sense 
of their deeper meaning. The thought of Froebel, or the thought 
to which the thought of Froebel has given birth, must show 
itself capable of adaptation to the varied conditions, the novel 
social environment, the needs and aspirations of American life: 
it must be inclusive not exclusive: it must show itself capable 
of reconciling its adherents with themselves and of lifting their 
minds above the level of controversy ; it must be self-assertive, 
and yet self-critical, disowning the unquestioning attitude of 
the partisan. Then and then only can it win the triumphs for 
which Froebel hoped and labored, and for which his true dis- 
ciples hope and labor in turn. 


In addition to the works of Froebel, and the references noted in 
the text, the following may be consulted: Angell, The Relations of 
Psychology to Philosophy; Blow, What is Froebel's Generative 
Thought, The Kindergarten Ideal of Nurture, International Kinder- 
garten Union, Boston, 1900, Letters to a Mother, also Symbolic 
Education; Bowen, Froebel; Butler, Some Criticism, of the Kinder- 
garten, in Educational Review, October, 1899; Dewey, School and 
Society, The Child and the Curriculum, Psychology and Social 

Herbart and Froebel 117 

Practice, The Educational Situation, The Significance of the Problem 
of Knowledge, Principles of mental development as illustrated in 
early infancy. Logical conditions of a scientific treatment of morality, 
The Interpretation Side of Child Study, also Elementary School 
Record; Eby, The Reconstruction of the Kindergarten, in The Peda- 
gogical Seminary, July, 1900; Francke, History of German Litera- 
ture; Harris, Psychologic Foundations of Education, Kindergarten 
Psychology, Social Culture in the Form of Education and Religion, 
in Educational Review, January, 1905; also various articles in 
Educational Review and Proceedings N. E. A.; Hayward, The 
Educational Ideas of Pestalozzi and Froebel; Hughes, FroebeVs 
Educational Laws; Mackenzie, Outlines of Metaphysics; Paulsen, 
Evolution of the Educational Ideal, in Forum, 1897 ; Roberts (Ed.), 
Education in the Nineteenth Century; Royce, The Spirit of Modern 
Philosophy; Russell, German Higher Schools; Snider, Social In- 
stitutions; Spalding, Development of Educational Ideas in the Nine- 
teenth Century, in Educational Review, November, 1904; Early 
History of the Kindergarten in St. Louis, Mo., in the St. Louis 
Annual Report, 1878-79; Vandewalker, The Kindergarten and 
Higher Education, in Educational Review, November, 1898; W el- 
ton, A Synthesis of Herbart and Froebel, in Educational Review, 
Vol. XX ; Young, Isolation in the School, also, Scientific Method in 


Further problems for study: 

1. Literary and philosophic influences in the life of Froebel. 

2. Froebel's indebtedness to Pestalozzi. 

3. Points of similarity between Froebel's and Leibnitz's view of 


4. The genesis of the ethical motive underlying the Kinder- 


5. The conception of the individual in Rousseau and Froebel. 

6. Froebel's solution of the equation between the individual and 

the social. 

7. Play and work. 

8. The child-study of Froebel. 

9. The psychology of Occupations. 

10. Bases of the Kindergarten program. 

11. Froebel's conception of education in relation to the problem 

of democracy. 

12. The adjustment of the Kindergarten to contemporary needs. 


In concluding the present outline attention may be directed 
in a brief manner to certain truths which have tended to re- 

ii8 Educational Theories 

appear constantly in the consideration of the period under 
review : 

(a) Educational ideas are not artificially produced; they 
obey the laws of living organisms, are transmitted from genera- 
tion to generation, and bear the impress of each succeeding age. 
The educational ideas of the period from Lessing and Herder to 
Hegel and Froebel were the outcome of the life and spirit of the 
German people during that era of transition, of aspiration, and 
of reconstruction. The work of the great educators of the 
period formed one of the most potential influences in a period 
of national humiliation in kindling in the German people an 
aspiration towards a worthier national life. Through their in- 
fluence education became one of the vital movements of the 

(b) The entire period, from one point of view it may be said, 
was one in which the true nature of the individual was made 
known. Rousseau, Kant, Lessing, Goethe, Pestalozzi, Schleier- 
macher, Fichte, Herbart, Hegel, and Froebel, all pleaded, each 
in his way, for the rights of the individual. The period was one 
of struggle for completeness of individuality. But the lesson 
was learned that the ideal of a perfect personality is to embrace 
the ideal of a perfect society, that system of life in and through 
human institutions in which are garnered the spiritual experience 
of the human race. Individual culture, in its true sense, can 
proceed only in the midst of a well-organized community. 

(c) Closely connected with the new doctrine of personality 
which emerged in the movement from Rousseau to Froebel, is 
the achievement of the Idealistic movement from Kant to 
Hegel, which is in essential agreement with another great achieve- 
ment in philosophy, namely, that of Greece. While representing 
different epochs and interpreting different types of human ex- 
perience, the import of both is essentially the same. Each is 
an expression of that idealism which finds the interpretation 
of existence in mind as the ideal and real presupposition of 
the world. This idealism of Plato and Aristotle, of Kant and 
Hegel, discovers a spiritual principle in the orderly processes of 
nature, in the beauty of the world, in the consciousness of man, 
and in the unity and continuity of the spiritual life of humanity. 
But the idealism of the second period is more than a mere re- 

Herbart and Froebel 119 

affirmation of the truth arrived at in the first. It furnished a 
new and fuller demonstration, rendered possible by reason of 
the completer experience, an experience which humanity was 
forced to undergo in its advance to finer issues. 

(d) The movement towards democracy which gave to the 
nineteenth century its most distinctive feature had its origin in 
the increasing sense of the worth of the individual, his spiritual 
and social significance, his rights and duties, an appreciation 
which in turn had its origin in the new movements in philosophy, 
in ethics, in religion, in science, and the new ideals of social 
amelioration and reconstruction. 

(e) During the period a new appreciation of the meaning and 
significance of civilization, as embodied in art, science, phil- 
osophy, literature, and religion, as the means of development 
and liberation for the individual. Instead of being a hindrance, 
as Rousseau supposed, it came to be recognized that civilization 
represents the methods so far organized of the true life of man. 
For the individual, at birth, this civilization, this system, of 
norms and of methods, is his spiritual inheritance. It becomes 
his spiritual possession in a large and fruitful way only through 
education. From the ethical and therefore from the educa- 
tional point of view, civilization is the vicarious offering of the 
race to the individual, to be used, if he will but appropriate it, 
for the perfecting of his natiire, for the rich and varied ex- 
pression of the personal life. 

(/) The study of the writers of this period makes it apparent 
that ultimately the end by which our desires are determined 
rests not merely on the process of psychological development, 
but in the very nature of reality. It may have its individual 
or psychological history or genesis: being from this point of 
view the last phase of the development of desire : but ultimately 
or metaphysically, the desire is intelligible only when it is 
recognized as conditioned by or implied in the very nature of 

ig) The thought of the period was, moreover, intensely 
human, when for man was disclosed the soul in sense, the mys- 
tical beauty of nature, the divine effiuence in the human soul, the 
spiritual sanctions of sympathy as well as of duty, the spirit of 
the little child long waiting for recognition, yet the interpreter 

I20 Educational Theories 

of the past as well as the hope of all the coming years. The 
literature of a later time may interpret man and human life 
more subtly and with greater exactness: not perhaps with 
greater earnestness or nobility. The period won for human 
thought the fact that the permanent reality in experience is per- 
sonality — ^not any longer the isolated individual of Rousseau, 
but the person of Froebel and Hegel entering into the wealth of 
the world's life, or, in Shelley's words: 

"Man, one harmonious soul of many a soul, 
Whose nature is its own divine control, 
Where all things flow to all as rivers to the sea." 






















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